APP OF THE DAY: Telmap preview (Android)
A bit of an odd one today for App of the Day in that it's not really an app at all. Well, it is – but it's much more than that - more an amalgamation of apps and widgets all in one. Not that you'll be able to go and grab it from the Android Market. But it will most likely be appearing on your handset soon. And if you live in France or Germany it probably already is.
Confused? Don't worry – so were we until we sat down for a chat with Motti Kushnir, chief marketing officer for Telmap, who told us all about it.
We've seen Telmap in the past, of course, but the company now sees itself as much more than a simple satnav.
Basically, the Telmap app is one that the company provides as a white-label app (as per its deal with Orange in France) that is part satnav, part Google Maps, and part Facebook Places - with a pinch of Groupon thrown in for good measure.
"Put simply it allows you to find stuff near you," explains Kushnir. "It could be an address, it could be a branded POI, it could be a friend through Facebook, it could be a coupon or a deal - you could even just type in Harry Potter and it will find the nearest cinema showing his film, and give you the info that you need."
But you've got these sorts of tools already available to you on your smartphone right? Usually under an app icon with a G on the front. But Kushnir is keen to stress that it's not just results that Telmap gives you, but the option to explore as well.
For example, find a restaurant and you'll not only be able to get driving or walking directions, complete with live traffic info and local weather, you'll also be able to check out reviews, check what Twitter has been saying about the place, or see if any of your Facebook friends are nearby.
Again though, we questioned Kushnir as to whether this isn't just what Google is already offering, albeit in a slightly more fragmented way (at the moment, anyway).
His response was that Telmap has a specific strength when it came to locality. "Unlike Google we don't believe that one size fits them all," he said.
"It's all about the ultra-local approach. If you are looking for a business in the UK, for example, during the last couple of years, due to the economical crisis, more than 35 per cent of small businesses have shut down. But their online identity usually remains.
"By relying on Google one out of every three searches means that you'll be walking or driving to a place that no longer exists."
Another differentiator to the Google approach, states the CMO, is that Telmap likes to take things a step further by closely integrating other connected apps and widgets.
For example, you've got a calender appointment marked in your smartphone that is an hour's drive away. Widgets and apps powered by Telmap would be able to calculate that the drive will, in fact, now take 3 hours due to heavy traffic - time you haven't got. It could then suggest an alternative route to a free Wi-Fi hotspot nearby, so you can at least take part in the appointment via a video conferencing app.
The Telmap app also has local, and personal, targeted adverts at the heart of its raison d'etre. "We've done a lot of work in this area and we found that if you are capable of forming an ad in a way that is relevant to the user, he won't just not be able to resist, he will see it as a service."
Ambitious stuff indeed, but with Intel now firmly behind the company (it acquired it for an undisclosed amount back in September), perhaps not too far beyond its reach. After all, the Israeli based outfit already boasts Orange FT Group, Vodafone, Vodacom, SFR, O2, Telefonica, SingTel, Optus, Cellcom, and Pelephone in its user base.
In the UK the demo app is fairly limited at present as it's waiting to be adapted for whatever network takes it on. The app itself was a bit clunky, and the content was scarce but we're looking forward to seeing it in all of its glory once it gets a proper UK release.