LONDON (Reuters) – Yahoo said on Tuesday it has acquired a small UK company called Whereonearth to help improve its local search and mobile phone services and compete more effectively with search leader Google.
Whereonearth specializes in location-based Internet services, including a sophisticated database of geographical locations that will let users search for local goods and services without entering a zip code or post code.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Privately-held Whereonearth, which has about 25 employees, has had a limited licensing deal with Yahoo since 2000.
The acquisition comes as companies including Google, Yahoo and Amazon.com’s A9 vie for dominance in localized Internet searches, which are seen as a way to draw in more users and classified advertising revenue.
Geolocation services are also expected to play a major role in mobile phone searches, delivering results that are close to the user.
Whereonearth’s database covers more than 90 percent of Europe, Asia and the Americas, Yahoo said, including detailed information about where certain areas are in relation to each other.
“Having that geographic data asset is something that’s becoming critical for us to make the user experience relevant, as well as the advertiser experience more useful,” said Bassel Ojjeh, Yahoo’s vice president for strategic data solutions.