There’s certainly no shortage of places to find information about local businesses, including Yelp, CitySearch, Patch and dozens of other hyperlocal sites. But WhitePages is tossing its hat into the ring today with the launch of a new Android app called Localicious and a new Web site called Neighbors.
WhitePages CEO Alex Algard admits that there’s plenty of competition in the sector, but he also notes that Localicious offers the first mobile experience to look at the world in a “truly neighborhood-centric way.”
WhitePages does have a few things going its way, attracting 30 million unique visitors per month to its directory services. To date, the company also has recorded about 11 million downloads of its mobile apps.
Algard said that Localicious is more about making the best use of the data that WhitePages already has than simply jumping on a hot trend.
Interestingly, WhitePages chose to develop Localicious first for Android, eschewing, at least for now, development for the iPhone.
Algard explained that “Android is getting strong traction in the marketplace” and the mobile platform allowed for some additional services that aren’t possible on the iPhone, namely pre-checkins on Foursquare. (WhitePages Kevin Nakao had some other choice comments about the decision to pass over the iPhone in his interview with All Things D).
The Localicious app is designed to pinpoint one’s exact location, while at the same time pulling up relevant reviews, tips and hot spots in order to help people discover relevant activities.
The free app helps mobile phone users explore by neighborhood rather than pure geographic distance, so that means a user could search for activities or hotspots on the top of Seattle’s Queen Anne hill without getting results from nearby Fremont or Magnolia. More than 80,000 neighborhoods are available through the Android App, which Algard said far surpasses that of the competition.
As for the Web-based Neighbors service, it is designed to help solve a nagging problem: What’s the name of my next door neighbor?
Users of the service can scroll through an aerial map to see the homes where neighbors live, kind of like how one can search for the homes of neighbors on Zillow. The service isn’t perfect.
In my Seattle neighborhood, WhitePages has a listing of a neighbor who moved away more than a year ago and a few other recent homeowners (the most important people whose names you need to learn) are missing. Nonetheless, it is helpful tool for anyone who has drawn a blank when running into a neighbor on a dog walk or trip to the store.
Here’s a look at how the Neighbors site works:
And here’s a closer look at how the Localicious app works: