Now that the 3G iPhone and App Store have arrived, the iPhone is decidedly more appealing and user friendly for both mainstream users, and for companies of all sizes to create and deliver mobile apps. The previous post explored how local search on the device is shaping up to have clear social elements.
But what role will Internet Yellow Pages play? Given directory publishers’ role as longstanding “owners” of local, does the new mobile environment represent an opportunity to get in early and avoid losing ground to pure-plays, as has happened in the online local search world over the past five years?
Yellowpages.com clearly thinks so, with a nice iPhone local search application right out of the gate. The app utilizes events from Zvents (written up yesterday), local listings, and social features to schedule events and invite friends (see flash demo here). At the time of this post, it’s in 24th place for downloads among the roughly 200 free applications in the iTunes store. This puts it ahead of most of the anticipated local search apps such as Loopt (40th place).
It’s too early to tell how it will fare in the long term, given the expectation for lots more applications over the coming months. But it shows a drive by the IYP to get out in front of this trend and gain an early mover advantage among iPhone users. Indeed, it beat many local search pure-plays to the punch, including Citysearch, Local.com and Marchex. Is this a sign of things to come?
Either way, we expect to see apps from these players soon, as well as other major IYPs such as Superpages and Dex.