The ‘Battle for Mobile Search’

Here’s a nice overview piece — together with the requisite “who will win?” dramatic elements — from BusinessWeek, covering mobile search:

The emergence of Internet-connected mobile phones, or what’s known as the Mobile Web, is turning the wireless search business into a horse race—one that’s too close to call. Unlike its dominant role in search on the computer, Google’s slim U.S. lead in search via mobile phones is far from secure.

Google is the early front-runner in the U.S., with Yahoo hot on its heels, according to M:Metrics, a researcher that focuses on the mobile market. The company estimates Google had about 4.75 million U.S. subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2006, roughly 1.1 million more than Yahoo.

Here’s my earlier post on why I believe carrier search strategies are a longshot. In addition, the world of “mobile search” and mobile marketing may not go the way of the Internet, as assumed by the article.

FreeDA (in local) and text messaging may represent the lion’s share of mobile lookups vs. the “mobile Internet,” which is improving but still has many miles to go before it becomes mainstream. Here’s my earlier, related post on text messaging.

There’s an analogy here to the early days of the Internet when everyone assumed broadband would reach critical mass in a couple years (it took 10) and everyone would soon be buying everything online (they aren’t, and e-commerce is in fact flattening). The point is: they story never turns out exactly as predicted.

Mobile is huge and will be an effective marketing medium (already is), but it won’t be just like the Internet.

One Response to “The ‘Battle for Mobile Search’”

  1. Yair Zehavi Says:

    I tend to agree, indeed, mobile search will be something similar yet different. I believe that Dipchand (Deep) Nishar (Director of Wireless Products at Google) best described the difference between mobile search in an interview he gave last year: “Search on mobiles is about finding not browsing…On a mobile it’s important that you find it right away.” (For the full interview, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5056344.stm).
    Unlike online search which is often aimed for browsing and general research, when it comes to mobile-search, the need to actually find what you search for is the goal

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