Japan's DoCoMo launches Twitter-based Yellow Pages

The Japanese operator has selected and grouped Twitter accounts by region and genre across the country

By Jay Alabaster, IDG News Service |  Networking

Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has launched a Twitter-based Yellow Pages service that offers information about regions around the country.

The service, called "Twitter Local Yellow Pages," collects popular Twitter accounts into groups based on location and theme, then offers users an easy way to subscribe. DoCoMo launched the service Friday together with Twitter's Japanese subsidiary and two national radio organizations.

The food section of the Tokyo region of the service, for instance, offers Twitter accounts devoted to ramen, curry, lunches, and the Tsukiji fish market. Twitter also provides a way to browse and search for regional themes that are currently generating high levels of interest on the service.

Twitter has become popular in Japan, especially since the earthquake and tsunami that devastated a large swath of the country's northeastern coast two years ago, when it became a key tool for sharing information on stricken areas. But the service's increasingly popularity makes it harder for users to find relevant information.

"Since the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake two years ago, there has been a renewed appreciation of the importance of local information including that from regional governments and on disaster prevention, and Twitter has drawn much attention as a tool that can be used to exchange information tightly tied to specific regions," DoCoMo said in a press release.

The service features accounts divided into groups based on Japan's 47 main prefectures and large cities, with categories for each including food, shopping, tourism and sports. It highlights accounts from local radio personalities, with the idea that they will post on events and information relevant to where they broadcast from.

To attract users to the service, DoCoMo is running a prize draw with gift certificates for winners in each region.

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