Egypt Yellow Pages Launches Mobile Apps For iPhone, Android and Windows 8.1

Egypt Yellow Pages Mobile App

Yellow Pages has launched 3 new apps aiming at making its service easier to use and accessible to a wide range of users in Egypt.

First up, there is a new Yellow Pages iPhone app available on App Store. The app is more than just a re-skin that is iOS 7 compatible, the app user experience is designed to help the users find what they are looking for on the go through a smart single search box where you don’t need to type the location and the app is smart enough to detect your location and show the results near you.

The app is practically a directory and a map with over 330,000 business listings and venues in Egypt that users can carry in their pockets. Taping on one of the home category icons will effectively help the users discover and explore local stores and venues near them. This is good news for businesses that want to acquire more customers from their neighbourhood, or passing by customers that happens to be in this location at that specific time and need to buy a product or a quick access to a service.

Yellow Pages New iPhone App

4 new updates have been released to the app in the past 2 months, each single update of them received a stunningly 5 stars rating from the users. The old English and Arabic apps are now merged into a single universal app in which users can switch between the 2 languages; much better for the user experience.

Yellow Pages iPhone App Review

Android users now finally can download the long-awaited Yellow Pages Android app on Google Play store. The app is accessible to over 3,835 Android devices worldwide. The app is optimised for high end Android devices such as Samsung S4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but it also works well with low end Android handsets such as the Galaxy Ace and Duos, also works great with 7 and 10 inch tablets.

Integration is done nicely with Google maps, which makes it very easy for the users to use turn-by-turn voice navigation available in Egypt through Google Maps. The Android app has received very positive feedback from the users, over 680 users rated the app and over 82% of them rated 4 or 5 starts for it. Exceptional for an Android app to satisfy equally for both high and low end device owners.

Yellow Pages Android AppWindows 8 is often criticised for its shallow  apps catalog, Egypt is no exception, but this is changing overtime with more apps being launched and push by Microsoft and its partner Linkdotnet in Egypt. Egypt Yellow Pages Windows 8.1 app is available for download on the Windows Store as one of the leading apps in the the Egyptian market, only a few apps came before like EgyptAir Windows App and Egyptian eGovernment maps app which is also powered by Yellow Pages data.

Yellow Pages Windows 8.1 AppThe new apps have received hundreds of thousands of downloads and continue to grow rapidly. Yellow Media has announced its intent to launch a new context-based relevant in stream mobile ads as an innovative way of mobile advertising that has a positive value on the user experience based on their interests rather than traditional mobile banner advertising.

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Interview with Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platform, YPG

Mattieu Houle:  Director, Mobile & Platform,  Yellow Pages Group in Canada (YPG)

Matthieu Houle: Director, Mobile & Platform, Yellow Pages Group in Canada (YPG)

Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platform at YPG gives us insights about the mobile local search industry in Canada, and expectations about where this industry is going and how the mobile usage of  YPG products will surpass web usage by 2014.

Mohamed Salah: Tell us a brief introduction about yourself

Matthieu Houle: I am Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platform at Yellow Pages GroupTM in Canada (YPG), responsible for its mobile properties, with more than 3 million downloads to date and representing 30% of our search traffic (www.yellowpages.ca/mobile). I am also responsible for YPG’s Developer Platform, YellowAPI.com which now has more than 1,000 developers signed-up.

With 15 years of experience in local search, media and advertising, I joined YPG in 2000 where I held various positions in Marketing, Business Development and Operations.

I began my career inCosta Rica where I lived for six years and co-founded a design agency and two quarterly publications: a local surf magazine and a golf magazine.

Mohamed: 30% of all YellowPages.ca online searches come from your mobile apps. How did you achieve these numbers and when do you think the mobile searches will surpass the web searches?

Matthieu: Part of our success was the early adoption of the mobile platform. Our executives saw the strategic fit and as of 2009, we’ve invested significantly in mobile development in terms of resources and created a director role dedicated to mobile – which I currently hold. We launched this initiative in 2010 with a mass media campaign, that really kick-started our presence on mobile.

Moreover, there is a natural fit between our service and the context of mobile users. I often say that Yellow Pages Group is “built for mobile”. For instance, Smartphones are the ultimate tool to discovering local merchants.

And finally, we have excelled at execution. Making the apps fast and simple to use was ultimately the key to our success and what drives our thinking moving forward. We have the right internal and external partners to achieve our strategy.

I refer to Mary Meeker’s forecast indicating that mobile usage will be equal to online usage by 2014. In my opinion, that forecast for local search is on the conservative side.

“Mobile usage will be equal to online usage by 2014. That forecast for local search is on the conservative side.”

Mohamed: How is the traffic usage divided between your mobile apps (iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, WP7, Mobile Web, SMS Search)? Did you think about developing a Nokia app?

Matthieu: Applications represent roughly 75% of our mobile searches while the remainder is mobile web. Out of the app traffic, 70% comes from the iOS platforms and in large majority from iPhones.

“Out of the app traffic, 70% comes from the iOS platforms and in large majority from iPhones”

InCanada, Nokia doesn’t have a strong penetration as it has in other parts of the world so we have not yet create an app for this platform. Moreover, SMS search numbers are negligible.

Mohamed: How do you interact with your mobile users? How did their feedback shape your applications the way they are today?

Matthieu: User feedback is a critical input when we plan our releases. We acquire feedback from many different channels, including social media, customer service calls and emails, and even from employees. In my opinion, the most valuable feedback is derived from reading the reviews section on the app stores which is an excellent source of feedback. You know that if someone takes the time to write a review, it’s very likely that at least 100 people are thinking the same thing.

Furthermore, we also follow a more formal user testing protocol when we launch major updates but I find that the value added through this process is a validation of ideas and our execution…

Mohamed: What is YellowAPI all about?

Matthieu: The essence of YellowAPI is to create more value for our advertisers by allowing virtually anyone to create amazing local experiences.  Developers are building new applications and experiences right now, in areas that we would not have imagined or we would not have taken the time to develop.

YellowAPI is all about contributing to the eco-system in a way that contributes to our business model. Overall, it is about enabling developers to tap into our curated data without having to pay for it. We believe it’s a win-win for everyone.

Mohamed: It is well known that the most valuable asset for Yellow Pages is its data. Have you faced any challenges about the idea of exposing the Yellow Pages data to third parties through the API?

Matthieu: Exposing our data is very different than giving it away. The key reasoning behind this is that each time a business profile is exposed through a partner’s app, we can report that value back to our advertisers.

Mohamed: How many partners are using YellowAPI today? What’s your monetization model for the API?

Matthieu: We have more than 1,000 developers that have signed-up on the API in less than a year, representing about 30 apps and websites.

The monetization model for the API is quite simple: by adding more value to our advertisers, we support our product value proposition. Although we don’t sell pay-per-performance, once you have a good understanding of the ROI-to-Revenue relationship, you can pay partners based on performance in a way that makes sense for both parties.

Mohamed: What are you working on right now? What’s in the pipeline?

Matthieu: We’re always improving our flagship apps. That’s a big part of the pipeline. Expect more social features and more content in the next few releases of 2011.We’re also working on a new app that will hit the iTunes app store in Q4… Which I think will have a tremendous success. Stay Tuned!

On the YellowAPI side, it’s all about adding more data and more tools to help developers come up with the best apps possible!

Mohamed: What is the most valuable thing you have learned so far being in the local search, media and advertising industry for the past 15 years?

Matthieu: I believe that if you focus on making things simpler and more useful, for consumers and advertisers, great things will happen. In the end, our role is to add value to both sides. Try to avoid PowerPoint Ivory Tower syndrome and recognize it when it happens and go back to the basics.

Mohamed: A few years ago, everyone said that going mobile is the next big thing. Today, what do you think is the next big thing?

Matthieu: I would say that the next big thing is still mobile. But not exclusively with “branded” applications. I see an explosion of hyper local, vertical, social mashups that will give consumers the best tools to make the best shopping decisions. Imagine a developer with the next big “local” idea, building the app with the content from Yellow Pages companies across the world…That’s where I want to be!

 I see an explosion of hyper local, vertical, social mashups that will give consumers the best tools to make the best shopping decisions”

Twitter: @matthieuhoule

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/matthieuhoule

Learn more about Yellow Pages GroupTM in Canada (YPG)

YPG

Learn more about YellowAPI

YellowAPI

Egypt Yellow Pages Ecosystem

There is no question that local search is now one of the core services of many web and mobile applications offered today. Think about the big market players such as Google and Facebook, both of them offer “places”. Social media check-in apps such as Foursquare, verticals like hotel review sites (Tripadvisor),  restaurant reviews sites, food delivery sites, map providers such as Navteq, or even directory assistance services offered by mobile operators, all their services are based on a venue database. If they don’t get it right there is very little point in offering their services.

Think about the effort and cost needed to maintain your own database. Thousands of businesses open, close, or relocate every month. This is the opportunity where what is offered by Yellow Pages is exactly the need of all these applications and services.

Egypt Yellow Pages is no exception, the integration between Egypt Yellow Pages database and their partners is becoming a key strength for many of these applications making use of the most complete business database in Egypt covering over 220,000 listings and 170,000 map locations.

Here is the ECO-SYSTEM of Egypt Yellow Pages

Egypt Yellow Pages ECHO-SYSTEM

I’ll go through the details of each of these systems and partnerships in future posts.

Egypt Yellow Pages App Released on BlackBerry App World

One month after the launch of BlackBerry App World in Egypt, Egypt Yellow Pages have released the BB App on the App World. This is one of the first BlackBerry applications (perhaps the first one) that are submitted from Egypt. This application launch was a developed by a brilliant new Egyptian startup called Apptitude.

What makes our BlackBerry application unique is not only being one of the first Egyptian publishers to join the App World, it has also been developed based on the community demand on different social networking sites especially Twitter… Our twitter friends joined out application beta testing program and provided us with very useful feedback and many additional features to add. Also their ongoing support helps us to add more features and make the application better….

A big thank you to our list of honor beta testers:

Mostafa khaled Beige

Mahmoud Ahmed

Mahmoud Abdel Aziz

Ramy Temraz

Bassem Osoris

Gamal Omar

Abdou Omar

Islam Badr

Mohammad Mokhtar Eltrissi

You can download Egypt Yellow Pages BB App from App World here.

BlackBerry App World now in Egypt

BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry App World

After waiting for it for a really long time, it has been confirmed today that BlackBerry App World is now available in Egypt. Although no official published news by RIM confirms this. Many users from Egypt have reported that they were able to access AppWorld and download application from it.

Many people wonder why did it take all this time to launch the store in Egypt. RIM has responded to this question saying that they do not launch the App World in a country unless they have signed an agreement with all the mobile operators to avail it for the users. Perhaps that could be the reason of the delay.

Egypt Yellow Pages BlackBerry App

Egypt Yellow Pages BlackBerry Application

The launch of BB App World in Egypt must be good news for users, developers and application vendors. Distribution of BlackBerry apps is not a simple task specially with all the device and OS specific features available, which makes it harder for the application vendors to do the correct device and OS detection and avail the correct version of the application to the correct device and the appropriate OS version.

As a Yellow Pages publisher, we are very delighted about availing the Black Berry App World in Egypt which will enable us to distribute and deliver efficiently our free local search application for Egypt. Currently, you can download Egypt Yellow Pages BlackBerry application from here. It is available for Curve, Bold and Torch models. There are 2 versions of the application, one supports OS 4.6 and another one supports version 5.0 or higher which has more features and functionalities embedded.

Egypt Yellow Pages Partners Day

I’m a little late to talk about this one, but last Sunday, January 16th 2011, was Egypt Yellow Pages first event for 2011, the best thing we thought we would do this year with, is to honor our partners and give them a big thank you for being so awesome through 2010… Our event title is Enhancing Local Search And Location-Based Services With Key Strategic Partnerships

Hosted in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza in garden city, more than 40 communications media specialists, editors and journalists covered the event that was attended by Egypt Yellow Pages strategic partners: Ministry of state of administrative development – e-Government, Nokia/Navteq, Al Masry Al Youm and Akhbarak.net

The event started with the keynote from Marc Lambert, managing director of Egypt Yellow Pages. The speech was so insightful, Marc explained how our strategic partners will help us enhance the local search services on more platforms by making it available through our partners sites and in the same time focusing on offering location based services which is the future of the local search…

 

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

I had the opportunity then to present some figures and insights about our achievements in 2010, which ended up with us having more than 175,000 business listing in our database out of which 115,000 are geocoded. At the time i am writing this blog post, we have about 180,000 listings and approaching 120,000 geocoded listings… 2010 was also a year that witnesses tripling our website traffic from 400,000 visits per month to over 1.2 million visits, a truly new milestone for local search in Egypt.

 

 

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Our partners were the ones who presented our strategic partnership details to the media, the following were representatives of  our partners:

Mathia Nalappan, General Manager – North Africa, Nokia
Phil McKinnon, Head Of Marketing – North Africa, Nokia
Mohamed Abd El-Jalil, Head Of Solutions Sales – North Africa, Nokia
Sahar Afia, Project Manager – Government Services Development Program, Ministry Of State For Administrative Development
Kismet EL-Sayed, Shareholder / Business Development Director, Al-Masry Al-Youm
Osman Ahmed Osman, Founder, Akhbarak.Net

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Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages signed a 5 year strategic deal to supply business listing information to NAVTEQ and Nokia global mapping platforms. This is the kind of partnerships that the giant mapping provider Navteq and Nokia are looking for. In these days, the mapping technologies have reached a new level, GPS became a major component in any mobile phone, not less important than a camera. Most new cars are already equipped with in-car navigation systems. Detailed maps are now available for almost anywhere in the planet. Without a detailed map a GPS would be useless.

So the equation that stood for some time was:

GPS + Detailed Maps = Know your way

Now this equation has totally changed, having access to hundreds of thousands of locations for hotels, restaurants, shops, gas stations, hospitals, …. definitely means much more. It means you do not need to worry any more about finding a place you want to go to.. All what you need is to decide what you want to do, and the where or how is not a problem anymore.

The new equations is

GPS + Detailed Maps + Business Listing Locations = Find your destination

It is so exciting now that Turkey Yellow Pages data will power up Nokia OviMaps which were offered for free a few days ago.  Nokia OviMaps is now one of the most convenient mobile maps that you could use, not only because it is free now, it’s technology has changed from raster images into vector maps so the application can be downloaded locally to your mobile from Ovi App Store, and it’s size is no more than 8 MB. This includes all the maps installed on your local mobile, no need to keep downloading images from the internet.

Nokia Mobile Search

Back in late 2006, when we developed our Nokia Mobile Search plug-in for Egypt, UAE and KSA Yellow Pages we were so delighted about it, it was a breakthrough for the use of the mobiles in our daily life to find a restaurant or a hotel on the move. One and half years later Nokia decided to drop support for their Mobile Search applications. Their insights were toward mobile maps. Now here comes OviMaps, the new amazing free Nokia mobile mapping platform and again powered by Yellow Pages, the most trusted local search provider as always.

So stay tuned for the upcoming updates from OviMaps which Turkey Yellow Pages will power up its data soon…