MapMyIndia, the maps business backed by Qualcomm Ventures, Nexus India Capital, KPCB and Sherpalo Ventures, has entered the rather crowded local business information service with the launch of Dial62, a free driving directions service that also provides local business information. We received the info via SMS yesterday, though it had been reported previously. The service is call center based, and is live from 8AM to 7PM.

However, this is by no means the only voice based driving directions service in  India – Reliance Communications has had such a service live for a couple of years – at Rs. 30 per month subscription, and Rs. 6 per minute. That’s expensive and overpriced, and it’s cheaper for RCOM subscribers to call Dial62 on STD in Delhi at 011-62626262 than calling RCOM.

Our sense it that MapMyIndia is leveraging its strength – in location and driving directions – to enter the local business information space; monetization will eventually be from leads generated for local businesses. This is essentially a voice based version of a map service – free maps are expected to be monetized by local business information, so why not on voice? Maps can not only tell you where the business is, and its contact details, but also how to get there. So far, MapMyIndia has business listings only for the Delhi/NCR region.

The local business information market is crowded, with Yahoo funded AskLailaCall Ezee, other business information services like Infomedia India/AskMe, Getit Yellow Pages, but is dominated by JustDial, which appears to be heading for an IPO.

Trying Out The Service

I called up 011-62626262, and requested directions from Rajpur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi to the Qutub Minar Metro Station from the call center executive, as well as the location of a restaurant nearby. Within minutes, I received directions to the location – in two SMS’, and a third with the details of the restaurant nearby. I could get used to this (given how often I get lost in Noida and Gurgaon).

But what information did MapMyIndia seek from me? Name, whether I’m an employee or running a business, my email address. They already had my mobile number, and sent me the details via SMS.

What I particularly liked about the service, is that Dial62 also sent me a link to their privacy policy via SMS. Our translation of the privacy policy*:

“The information you share will be used for internal purposes, including contacting you about our services (read “special offers”). We may sell, share or rent personal information in case you are a customer of our search services, where it will be shared with subscribers/advertisers, and you shall be deemed to have given consent for it. We may have entered into a contract with customers for non-disclosure of confidential information, but this policy does not apply to the practices of organizations that we do not own or to people that we do not employ or manage (read as “our customers”).

*do correct us, MapMyIndia, if we’re wrong about this.