Monday, May 02, 2005

Four One One, What City And State Please?

After thinking about last weeks 2 big stories in the mobile space, I realized service providers could play a much bigger role in mobile search. There are a couple obstacles to overcome.

When it comes to mobile search there are two things I want on my cell phone. I want the Yellow pages (of the city I am in), and a map.

Your 411 call gets you to a phone number and or address of a business/person.
The operator performs a “search” of their own within the cities yellow pages.

411 is the universal yellow pages.

But, with all this information, how can service providers dominate mobile search?

Service providers tell cell phone manufacturers what software/platform to put on specific models. In the future this could be a search window or a toolbar.

They have the GPS coordinates that allow location based services (LBS). This provides location and eliminates the user from saying “Manhattan”.
They have access to the yellow pages data of every city directory, but up till now, the feedback is in oral form from the operator.

What they don’t have.

1. A search function
2. A way to resolve the query in data form

When I type in pizza in the search window, they don’t have the technology to resolve that. Using Google on the cell phone doesn’t work for mobile search. It isn’t mobile search. I want the closest pizzeria displayed on my cell phone, not the origins of making a pizza.

They also do not have Internet enabled yellow pages.

What they need is.
1. The Internet yellow pages
2. A search engine resolver application that recognizes keyword/ pizza, Starbucks, plumber

How do the Yellow Pages get enabled for the Internet?

A search engine (Google) could solicit/request data from every small business. However, I realized it’s way too big of a task and some of the listings probably don’t have email let alone a website …ie ( plumbers, contractors, service cos).

So let’s start from the top down, by letting the yellow pages listings come to them

Yellow pages should start to offer a mobile yellow pages database. This way, one could get an operator provided phone number and a business listing in their Sprint mobile search.

The mobile search engine resolver identifies the keyword, matches up the GPS coordinates and provides relevant search results.

The race for cell phone real estate is on.


db said...

Doesn't what you explain here tie into the LOCAL link on Google?? I have my town and enter a keyword, like pizza, and I get the list of pizza joints (or any kind of business listing) in my results...all within the town that is in my querie...

go here:

Now wouldn't they (google) just have to come up with some kind of app to do the same on a cell phone...
I'm missing something...

Scott Shaffer said...

There is a HUGE disconnect between what you can find using Google's local search and what is available in the Yellow Pages.

So many listings in the yellow pages dont come up when you do a Google Local search.

What Google should do is buy the Yellow Pages and offer webhosting to all the small retailers that would like to have their own site.

Include a keyword/adsense package for this small business.

How many times have you done a search for a small biz and found only a map and phone number?

When GPS is incorporated into your mobie search, that variable will be eliminated as well.

Anonymous said...

Regaurding the cellular and lan-line directory assistance you've mentioned, apart from the GPS part, your blog report is inaccurate. I work for Excell Services, one of the biggest, and long time running Directory Assistance providers to the United States, Canada, Peurto Rico, and Bermuda.

For one, we don't search by Yellow Pages, we search with White Pages for the desired city the customer is requesting the search be made in, UNLESS your telephone plan permits you to have Category searches, then we can perform yellow page searches.

If your using Cricket (Baisc Package), Directory Net, Acceris Communications, Telepacific, Cincinati Bell, and a couple others (those being the basic packages for each company), you will not recieve category searches, even if they are available for us to use, because your company has requested it disabled for that customer's plan.

So, I hope that helps you better understand our search methods, and may even help with the other topic in your blog report.