Yahoo! Brings oneSearch to WAP Browers

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In an important move to make its oneSearch functionality available more broadly, Yahoo! is bringing oneSearch to a WAP browser near you. It’s not as rich as the full Go 2.0 experience, which must be downloaded. But it’s a great improvement over the experience that used to reside at m.yahoo.com.

From the press release:

Yahoo! oneSearch is designed to make searching for and finding information as quick as possible for consumers by providing relevant results right on the page such as news headlines, images, business listings and more as well as easy navigation to other websites. For example, if a consumer wants to go to a movie this weekend, they just need to type the name of the movie into the search box. The search results would first list the movie, including a user rating, local theaters the movie is playing at, news headlines related to the movie and more. To dig more deeply into the results, a consumer would simply need to click on any item or category. For example, to see all the movies playing at a specific listed theater, just click on the theater name.

In my casual initial tests of the service tonight I tried several local searches for movies, sushi and hotels both in the SF Bay Area and in New York. Generally the results were very good. Because I’m a registered Yahoo user I didn’t have to input location for my area. This, in and of itself, is a big relief. And when I sought to change location it was easy to do so, with recent locations remembered.

Yahoo is placing ads at the top and sometimes the bottom of search results. These are relevant PPC ads, which I found to be unobtrusive. Yahoo is making a point of monetizing mobile search from the outset. So far so good.

The organization and presentation of search results and related information (i.e., reviews, images) make the overall oneSearch experience dramatically better than the old Yahoo WAP search.

Even as it’s still very early in mobile search, the major competitors are accelerating their efforts toward both consumer adoption and monetization. And the user experience is quickly improving. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! now all have applications that are much better than what was available even last year. But before I do any comparative writing about them I’ll wait until the full Go application is available for my Windows Mobile phone (April).

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Related: Here’s more detail on oneSearch from Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal and Andy Beal. Also, MediaPost reports on a Harris Interactive survey that explored cellphone user receptiveness to mobile advertising:

A solid portion of digital consumers will accept all the advertising thrown at them–provided they get free stuff. A recent Harris Interactive study said a survey of nearly 1,000 mobile phone users in early February showed that a surprising 35% of consumers are okay with cell phone ads, as long as there is an incentive attached.

What’s the best one?

A staggering 78% said cold hard cash. Almost as important was free cell minutes. This achieved a 63% approval rate. Free entertainment downloads, such as ring tones and games, got the thumbs up from 40% of the survey. Consumers also like discount coupons.

This survey, however, doesn’t appear to discuss ad relevance, which positively impacts user acceptance.

Screencast: Yahoo! oneSearch screencast from Read/Write Web


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