Indiatimes*, the Internet and Mobile arm of the Times of India group, has partnered with local search services application Poynt, with the objective of providing local information to users via the mobile. The service, called TimesPoynt will launch in the first quarter of 2011, and will be available on J2ME devices (including Nokia), iPhone, Android and BlackBerry smartphones. It will feature sections for local restaurants, nightlife, movies, events, weather and mapping. So, it appears that Poynt is providing the app, and, expectedly, Indiatimes, the content and distribution with its media reach. Indiatimes also intends to help establish relationships for TimesPoynt for third-party content and services.
According to its website, Poynt allows the following services: Search, click to call (the listing), sharing and emailing the information, movie information and trailers, movie reviews and ratings, event listings and directions to the event, restaurant guide, booking of a table in a restaurant (in partnership with OpenTable, toptable and livebookings.com), fuel prices, weather information etc. Poynt integrates Poynt integrates VZ navigator, Google maps and BlackBerry maps. So, we guess there’s an opportunity for Indiatimes to bring partners on board for multiple services. Here’s a demo from Poynt’s website:
Remember that Indiatimes relaunched TimesCity earlier this year. It’s understandable that Poynt would have wanted to retain some part of the branding for India (hence TimesPoynt, for which Indiatimes has registered a domain name) but IndiaTimes shouldn’t have introduced another brand in the local information segment. Given what all Poynt can do, perhaps they’ve decided to use it as an open platform for aggregating external services in India. The mobile Internet base in India is still small – while there are around 468 million active users (at last count), the country’s mobile Internet user base is estimated at 15-25 million.
*Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama