Yahoo’s crush on location-based offerings appears to be building steam. A day after announcing a new mapping alliance with Nokia, Yahoo said it has acquired Asian location-based service Koprol.
Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, Koprol is similar to U.S. mobile startup Foursquare – another company Yahoo reportedly wants to buy – in that it lets users broadcast their location and share information about real world locations using a system of “check-ins” on their mobile phones. Unlike Foursquare, Koprol uses mobile phone browsers – not dedicated apps.
Speaking yesterday at a press conference (See video below), Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz sang the praises of location-based services, saying “Mapping, location, with search, with content, is how the world’s living now.”
The long-term goal for Yahoo is to combine such location-based offerings with its in-house local content offerings to increase its share of the expanding flow of local ad spending.
“The ability to do local performance advertising is really on our radar screen,” Bartz said. “Having location, combined with great local content, is what our users are looking for.”
Ad opportunities around location-based services remains nascent, but numerous marketers large and small have begun experimenting. In recent weeks, Foursquare has signed up a number of major brands such as Starbucks and Tasti D-Lite, which have used its platform mainly to offer promotions to regular customers.
Koprol has also made some in-roads with marketers such as Celebrity Fitness, which offered a trial membership to users who posted photos of themselves at its locations.
Competition is fierce among geolocation services, and is likely to become moreso this summer. That’s because Facebook will soon unveil its own location-based offering, called Places, which is expected as early as this week. Yahoo says it will continue to invest in the Koprol platform, noting the service released a new BlackBerry application today.