Nasdaq-listed premier digital media company, Yahoo!, is planning to add Indian cities to its recently-launched Time Traveler, a personalised itinerary application for travelers, by September 2012.
The application, which currently covers 29 cities worldwide, would see more users joining in, said Hari Vasudev, vice-president (Connections), Yahoo! Inc.
The company has launched the application, which helps users to create custom itineraries based on a location and how much time they have to spend, for iPhone operating system-based mobile devices in May this year. This is expected to help people who travel as part of their job, especially business travelers, to use their limited free time effectively in a city.
It has so far included around 30 cities globally, including Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Dubai, London, New York, Paris, Rome, San Francisco and Toronto. The app is also supported by Yahoo!’s other products like search engine and travel site and could be shared through social networking sites. A majority of the work for the development of this app was driven from Yahoo! India R&D. However, Indian cities were not added to the product so far.
“We will be covering Indian cities, the four metro cities to begin with, in the third quarter of 2012,” Vasudev said. The company is in the process of collecting all the data related to the major cities in order to include in the product. The app would come up with various options for the user to spend the time, once the person keys in the starting point and the time available. He said that the Indian iOS users could currently use the app even though it does not have Indian cities.
Besides, it is planning to launch the app on the Android platform, followed by Windows operating system. It also has plans to come up with a series of apps through Cocktail, a mobile application development platform based on open web standards to work across various platforms. One of the top priorities for Yahoo! is to innovate for the mobile users, across all types of devices and platforms, the company said.
“We’ve been pivoting toward a mobile-first development approach since last year. While the results are starting to show, you’ll see more innovation like this from us in the future,” the company official said.
Yahoo! is also looking at adding a new feature to its community-driven question-and-answer (Q&A) site, Yahoo! Answers, to support people who visit the unknown cities to find best options for their food, accommodation and any other needs.
“A traveler, who is new to the place, can simply put his question related to the location in Yahoo! Answers and we will direct it to the selected community he wants to seek help from. The user can rely on the answers since it is suggested by the person he knows very well,” said Vasudev. The feature will be available across 21 countries by December this year, he added.
Yahoo! Answers is the fifth largest social platform and currently has around 220 million unique users who visit the site once a month. The average page views for Answers is around 1.6 billion a month. It has around 300 million questions posted so far.
It is currently collaborating with various universities to support research programmes, including basic research, as part of bringing improved and new technologies into the market.