Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Latlong – Gets You There

Gets you there, that’s what they say.

The product under review here is a Direction Finding service that works over a plain text message from any mobile phone .

Imagine, you being stuck in an unknown place in Bangalore and want to get to some other place. The possible options would be the use of a voice guided GPS system, say on your very own Smartphone or to ask someone passing by. To people with Smartphone and those without, ONZE Technologies India Pvt Ltd introduces Latlong, an SMS service, wherein, people can search WHERE a place is and also HOW to get there from any other place (in Bangalore). An SMS would be way cheaper than a GPS navigation service. You may argue that there are WAP enabled map sites to find directions but, this service is easier to use, less time consuming and cheaper than most other services.

This product named Latlong is the brainchild of a privately held company housed in Bangalore, India, called ONZE Technologies.

As the product says, ‘Latlong – GETS YOU THERE’, it is a direction finding service. All that the end user needs is a phone that has the capability to send and receive plain text messages. Let me attempt to explain how it actually works:

Say, I wanted to get to Jayanagar 4th Block from my house which is in Chamarajpet. What I would do is, type an SMS in the format,

GO Jayanagar 4th Block FROM Chamarajpet

and send it to 9008890088, voila, I have the directions in the reply:

GO 4.1 km via>>

Uma Theater,Chamarajapet>>Gandhi Bazar DVG Rd Junction>>Nettakallappa Circle>>South End Circle>>Nanda Talkies Rd>>Jayanagar Shopping Complex,4th Blk

After reaching South End Circle:

START-South End Circle

GO ON Nanda Talkies Rd TOWARDS Nanda Theater Junction,GO 0.4 K

CONTINUE AT Nanda Theater Junction 0.3K AFTER South End circle bus stop,GO 0.5 K ON Nanda Talkies Rd

TURN L 225m AFTER Abhaya Ganapati temple(R),GO 0.4 K ON 30th Crs Rd

END-Jayanagar Shopping Complex

CALL FOR ASSISTANCE: 08041307394 (9am-7pm MON-FRI)” (Very much self-explanatory)

The other service that it provides the user is the Location service wherein, when the user wants to find the address of a place, can find it through a similar service, but with a differently formatted query. Say, I would like to know the exact address of the company that has built this product, Onze Technologies. I just have to send an SMS in the format,

WHERE Onze Technologies

to 9008890088 and in the reply I would get the exact address of the company,

“1. ONZE Technologies (India) Private Limited

Ph:08041307394

37th Crs Rd,5th Blk,Jayangr

CLOSE TO Good Shepherd School

2.2 km FROM South End Circle”

along with the phone number and nearby landmarks.

This product also answered complex queries such as ‘GO Jayanagar 4th Block Dominos From Jayanagar 9th Block Corner House’. I was totally amazed by the capability of the product to handle such complex queries. I would rather go in with LATLONG than any other services that are currently available because of the ease of use and the cost incurred.

LATLONG currently is operational for places in Bangalore. Hope they can make it all over India.

In all, LATLONG is an amazing product. Our rating would be 5/5 considering its efficiency, capabilities, speed of operation and its ease of use.

Let us know what you felt about the product.

Zook-The new Mobile Q & A Platform

This review is about a new mobile search engine(answer engine to be more precise) unlike the existing ones.

Imagine a situation where you are in some place and want to find out some eatout or a coffee shop or anything else around that place(considering you are new to that place). You or rather I would certainly not Google/Yahoo! it. Even though if it does it wouldn’t be optimised for viewing on the go on a Mobile phone.

So what follows will introduce you to a solution that handles this situation very well.

The product in focus here is Zook.

Zook is a product from Bangalore based company called Ziva Software.

Ziva has built a patent pending Technology to build the worlds first interactive “Mobile answer engine” that provides precise answers to users queries. The QA Engine is part of Ziva’s Manas Platform™.

As Zook quotes it:

Manas Platform™ is compatible with any language, any vertical/segment, and any number of heterogeneous information sets. In other words, the search and access paradigm remains the same across multiple verticals. For this reason, Ziva’s search paradigm is referred to as the Lateral Search™ technique.

So let me explain how Zook actually works with a use case.

I sent a Query “Coffee Day Jayanagar”(Oh! I love Coffee!) to Zook’s SMS service number 57575665.

Here is what I got as the reply.

Zook: 3 matches: For details reply with choice(1,2,Etc)/M for more results. (Pretty straight forward).
Me: 1
Zook: Cafe Coffee Day Cuisine: Coffee Bar,Address Brigade Homestead,Opp Maiya Nursing home and Garla Garnet, Ground Floor, 519/a, 9th Main, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore-32

So these were the answers from the answers from Zook itself. There is a also an active Zook Community that also drives the Zook Platform. The community is the part of Zook’s Peepal Network™

As Zook quotes it:

Ziva’s mobile-specific social networking platform (referred to as Peepal Network™) has been built groud-up to support mobile-based communities. Peepal Network™ utilizes user’s location as well as the time parameter to support transient and time-sensitive social networks that can be dynamically formed based on user’s current location as well as other interests. The flexible nature of the Peepal Network™ can be used to power a number of mobile-specific social networking applications — which includes reviews and ratings, tagging, music/video sharing, etc.

These are the answers that I got by the Zook Community (Which is a highly active and growing community) :

For your query “Coffee day Jayanagar”, <USER_NAME_X> says
1. Coffee Bar,Address Brigade Homestead,Opp Maiya Nursing home- +918064526490
2. #52,A-22,2nd Mn,32nd cross,,Jayanagar 7th block +918064528292

and one more answer.

Looking at this result I was amazed that so much information and to the point information can be got with So less, which I am sure no other service provider can gurrantee or claim.

Apart from this they also have a WAP based interface, the results for the above query as seen on WAP Broswer can be seen here.

So all in all I felt Zook is a good service that has an even better technology that is driving it.

Zook is currently available in Major cities around  India.

So I rate the product 5/5 for its innovation,usability and correctness.

Zook was also nominated for the Mobile Monday Global Peer award 2008 in at the mobile world congress,Barcelona.

Let me know your thoughts on this and do try out Zook.

Coming up: An interview with a core Member of the technology group at Ziva Software.