rediff-imereLittle known Bangalore based location-enabling company Imere Technologies has sold a minority stake Rediff.com, a NASDAQ listed Indian Internet company. The quantum of the minority stake has not been disclosed.

Imere uses Cell-ID, Wi-Fi, GPS, IP Addresses and proprietary algorithms for providing location relevant inputs for both mobile and Internet applications, and can work without GPS on mobile phones, and tries to provide location accuracy online without entirely being dependant on IP addresses.

Over and above financial support, Rediff will also provide “platform support” to Imere: In the past, Rediff has invested in two companies whose it has deployed – Quillpad (Tachyon), in which Rediff has 26% stake, finds use in Rediff’s Indic language email and search, and Eterno Infotech powers Rediff Mobile and its mobile Indic language tools.

logo-oheBuddy Finder App: Ohe!

Among its mobile applications is Ohe! which also works without GPS. Keep in mind that most of the handsets in India are unlikely to be GPS enabled, at least for the next 2-3 years.

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Ohe! has a buddy finder application that allows users to define their privacy settings, and locate buddies close buy, and also connect with interesting people around them.

Competing with this application in India are Google Latitude, and more recently, Reliance BIG Maps.

LBS: Hot or Not?

The Imere software has features like point of interest lookup (example: for restaurants, ATMs etc), positioning via geocode and reverse geocode, and location aware push ads. Carrier services include fleet scheduling and resource tracking, proximity based notification (push or pull) etc.

The importance of location awareness cannot be overstated: it offers Rediff additional, key, data inputs, helpful for providing users more personalized information like localized news, as well as adding another data-point to its user profiling for serving advertisements. This might particularly help with Rediff’s Local Ads (would have helped with the now defunct P4C program as well).

However, one also shouldn’t get carried away with the perceived potential of Location based services and advertising. As the joke goes, every year is the year of LBS. Evangelists keep predicting its tremendous success, but somehow it just doesn’t catch on.

Related:

— BIGMaps Launched On Reliance GSM; Why RCOM? Friend Finder, PointnFind?
Nokia’s Navteq Adds 44 Cities To Maps; Sets Up Global Production Centre; No Traffic Updates Yet
On Google Latitude Vs BIG Maps
Tata Indicom Launches QuickFinder A-GPS Handsets; SatGuide LCU; Pricing