Businesses with a listing in the Yellow Pages Group co. will soon have that listing shared with a slew of mobile applications after the Verdun, Qc.-based firm opened up its database last week.
Mobile application developers now have free and open access to the Yellow Pages business listings through YellowAPI.com. They will be able to code their own applications using the Yellow Pages 1.5 million business listings for platforms such as iOS, BlackBerry, Android and Symbian. It is a boon for a mobile market that is looking for good local data.
Listed businesses will soon benefit from more exposure, says Matthieu Houle, director of mobile & platforms at Yellow Pages.
“For local business, what really counts is that we drive people to the door,” he says. “The opening up of our local content to developers will result in new consumer experiences looking at their ads, and will add more value to their relationship with Yellow Pages.”
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The Yellow Pages still distributes its fat books to door steps across Canada. But like many content publishers, it has increasingly moved its services into the digital realm over the last several years. It has a Web site, of course, and its mobile app is amongst the most popular across several devices. By the end of the year, Yellow Pages projects 20 per cent of all searches to come from mobile devices.
Yellow Pages staff presented their new application programming interface (API) at FITC Mobile 2010 in Toronto Sept. 17.
Developers will likely combine the new API with others available on the market to create a mash-up of services, says Libin Pan, a software architect at TLI Software.
“Their application is good for one thing – finding stuff,” he says. “But we can do a lot more with that, maybe using Foursqure or even Facebook Places for check-in, for example.”
Opening up data is something more organizations should consider doing, Pan adds.
Yellow Pages API offers the “what” and “where” of a search query, explains Antoine Boivin-Filion, the firm’s IT director. It returns the physical attributes of a business – its name and address, for example, in addition to rich content such as photos and video that a business has shared with Yellow Pages.
The database also has meta tags for businesses classifying them as either normal, parent, or child. A parent-child relationship is when one larger enterprise has many locations – say Tim Horton’s for example. So users could conduct a geo-locational search that would show them all Tim Horton’s locations in their proximity, including ‘child’ locations. Or users might do a regional search that would only reveal the ‘parent’ listing of the main Tim Horton’s address.
Yellow Pages plans to react quickly to developer requests for changes, Boivin-Filion says. “Nothing about this is set in stone we can make it based on your requirements.”
The API could soon include ways for developers to make money too, Houle says. An advertising network is planned that would feature business advertisements in banners across many applications.
“It’s a win-win situation where the developer gets more users and monetization and we get more leads to our advertisers,” he says.
For now, developers can get started with coding by registering at YellowAPI.com.