Yell.com has decided to forgo partnering on maps with Google, Microsoft or other potential competitors in favor of building its own propriety map product. The U.K.’s largest directory publisher unveiled a beta version of the Yell Maps product this week.
Yell is positioning its map product as designed for the specific purpose of finding local businesses. Here is a video that offers some color on the new product. Yell contends its new product is faster and easier to use than the previous incarnation, thanks in part to more up-to-date content and improved geocoding.
Yell used the French firm Tridoo to build the Yell Maps product. Tridoo already provides the maps on Yell’s mobile search products. The company is also using Navteq to provide quarterly updates to ensure that business location and directions are kept up to date. Yell describes Tridoo as a “small specialist company that has spent the last 10 years at the forefront of mapping and geospatial development.”
Yell “map master” Djamila Fernana-Ritchie says, “This is the first of a number of planned releases designed to make Yell Maps the premier mapping solution for local business search in the U.K.”
It seems clear that Yell, which had taken a more cooperative view toward Google in recent months, has decided that maps is a strategic piece of its future business, and owning its platform makes more sense that outsourcing it to a key competitor. The challenge for Yell will be making its maps compelling enough to divert usage from Google.