January 5, 2007
In a move that will let you Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) as you parallel park or negotiate tricky lane changes, the search engine pioneer is teaming up with Dash Navigation to provide local search in Dash Express terminals that combine GPS functionality with two-way Internet connectivity.
The new product will be introduced next week at the CES consumer electronics show. Naturally, the fate of the partnership will depend on how successful the actual product is, but you have to like the sound of it if you are a Yahoo! shareholder. The company has been lagging market leader Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) in paid search, and this is the ideal way to hook local eateries, retailers, and services with commuting consumers at their most vulnerable moment: when they're on the road, deciding where to go next.
Even though Yahoo! has been toiling away in paid search longer than Google, Big G has taken over and watches over the larger ad network these days. The move toward GPS-powered local search arms Yahoo! with some potent sales force ammo. It is now positioned to land new clients, even if the potential advertisers don't have much of a Web presence.
Again, it all comes down to how consumers take to the new appliance, which bills itself as the first Internet-connected GPS system. Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN ) and TomTom command 75% of the GPS navigation market, and it's hard to believe they would ignore two-way online connectivity as a feature if consumers start taking a shine to the Dash Express.
Google would probably do well to stay competitive here and begin talking to the GPS manufacturers. Google is used to leading the way, but it's better to follow here than to pay the dear price of being left behind.
Garmin and Yahoo! have been recommended by David Gardner for his Stock Advisor subscribers.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz bought a Garmin GPS last month, but is going to be watching Dash with interest. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.