Disintermediation and disruption is fascinating – it is amazing to watch how a company can destroy an entire industry overnight. Case in point is my local florist who is now gone – the last time I saw her she said someone who understood the Internet should buy her store. I immediately thought of how futile an idea this wouldbe – Proflowers had bypassed the local florist to go directly to customers. I thought even if you could buy the store and not pay the expensive rent associated with the high-end strip mall the florist occupied there would be no way for the flower shop to last.
So when I came across the fact that Infogroup is supplying local directory data to WhitePages.com in order to fuel its local search I realized that Apple needs to be in this game as well. Why? Simply to make sure Google doesn’t become an even more important resource to its mobile device users. And it is well known that Google believes local search is a major part of its future.
I can see some really cool and catchy service being rolled out by the company like – iBuy, a new service which matches your personal preferences with local stores in your vicinity. The press will love it and legions of fans will stay up all night outside Apple stores to be the first to Twitpic the service in an honest to goodness Steve Jobs approved retail outlet.
Apple needs to be a strong player in local and perhaps an agreement like this or purchasing Yelp is the way to go. Regardless, it is becoming clear that local information discovery is a natural extension of what a smartphone should and will do… And if Apple cedes this space to Google it will only make Androids that much better.
And now, while Google has its hands full trying to take on Facebook and Twitter with Google+, is the perfect time to strike.