India has started testing its local search engine in India (reported by ContentSutra on Monday). The Google Local Search link (http://local.google.co.in/) is not fully functional and, like the international version, is linked to Google Maps. There is no official communication from Google India and there was no response to queries sent by agencyfaqs! at the time of filing this story.
Local search has been growing steadily in India with many start-up companies entering the domain, among them Guruji, AskLaila and Ilaaka. MIH India also has a local search engine called Dwaar, about which it is very optimistic.
Google has apparently tied up with local players like Burrp and Trip Advisor for the search results, which makes it unclear whether Google Local Search will be an aggregator or a standalone engine with its own database.
Globally, Google launched local search in beta in 2004, in which location search was linked with advertising in typical Google strategy. Google Maps has not been launched in India, but the Internet giant is cosying up to localisation in the country. Only recently, it launched local language search in India with an on-screen keyboard and a transliteration tool.
Update (August 23): A Google spokesperson says, "Yes, Google Local Search has been launched in India. Local Search can be used initially by Internet users, who are looking for businesses in Delhi, Bombay, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Calcutta, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. The local search results will display names, phone numbers and addresses of relevant businesses. There will also be a link to provide the user with more listings."