TomTom is rapidly expanding its local search engine, TomTom Places. The service has recently been introduced in Sweden, Austria, Norway, Spain, and is now available in Ireland.
TomTom Places is available online, on mobile as a free app for android or iPhone, and integrated into TomTom navigation devices and in-dash navigation systems. Beyond the search, it lets users call or directly plan a route to the place they have found, taking into account the latest real time traffic reports from TomTom HD Traffic.
“More than 50 per cent of all local searches are now carried out on a mobile device,” says Rogier van Egmond, VP of TomTom Places. “As a result, it’s very important to us that TomTom Places is quick and easy to use on TomTom products. People ask for directions to a nearby place rather than the address and that’s exactly what TomTom Places provides them.”
TomTom Places provides a navigation-based search facility, helping drivers to find nearby shops and restaurants and choose the best places to go.
“Searching with TomTom Places while on the move is a big time saver,” says Gerard Hinds, director mobile at TomTom. “For example, if you searched for ‘bread’ via a normal search engine, you’d be given recipes. However, search with TomTom Places, and you’ll find a variety of places in the local area where you can actually buy bread. So there’s no need to sift through all that irrelevant information when you’re trying to find a place to go.”
In addition to geographical expansion, 20 million new points of interest have been added to the service in the last 8 months. While there were 5.5 million POIs in October 2011, there are 26 million today.
TomTom Places will be available in more than 25 countries by the end of 2012.