Yahoo! India, the leading search engine-cum-web services provider, Wednesday launched two new links to browse 20 Indian cities and access maps, a day before AOL LLC is scheduled to launch its portal in the country.

The first link, which can be accessed by users at provides an updated perspective of a city as seen and experienced by people. Users can use the link to explore photos, videos, events, news, weather and share them with others.

“The product aggregates both editorial and user generated content. Currently, we are covering 20 cities across the country, including tier-one cities such as Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai with a differentiated offering and tier-two cities such as Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Madurai, Chandigarh and Jaipur,” Yahoo! India managing director George Zacharias told reporters here at a preview of the products. The aim is to target Internet users who are not comfortable with English, Zacharias said.

The company’s Indian R&D center in Bangalore will also be the hub for new product engineering for emerging markets including India and Brazil, Yahoo cofounder David Filo told reporters in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Similarly, Yahoo! India maps beta – – provides street level search functionality with street maps, satellite map and hybrid maps. Users can search over 170 cities, 4,785 towns and 220,000 villages across the country.

Details of street name, locality, city and district can be found with other services such as hospitals, chemists, hotels, ATMs, etc. The map data is being provided by CE Infosystems and is complaint with the Indian government regulations. The maps service addresses Indian government concerns about undue exposure of sensitive defense and other installations, Yahoo said. Rival Google came under fire from the Indian government for allowing its Google Earth service to expose these installations.

“We innovate to enhance the end-user experience. The emergence of Web 2.0 and user generated content offers our netizens a unique local offering,” said Zacharias.

Yahoo India Maps will be also available on mobile phones down the line, Zacharias said.

India’s online advertising revenue is currently only about $60 million a year, but is expected to grow at about 50 percent annually, George Zacharias, managing director of Yahoo India told reporters. About 85 percent of the country’s Internet users visit Yahoo, and the company’s track record of innovation in India will help it counter competition, he said. In addition to launching new services, Yahoo has focused on the Indian languages market. In February, the company launched portals in seven Indian languages, as well as local language plug-ins for its instant messenger service. And later this year, it plans to introduce local language plug-ins for its email service as well.