Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mobile Search Is Really Mobile Info

For starters, everytime we hear the phrase "mobile search" let's replace it with "mobile info".

From Wireless Asia In search of mobile revenue

Mobile versions of search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN are proving to be nowhere near as popular as their online counterparts, according to JupiterResearch.

Although 81% of online users use search engines, few mobile users do.

I bet if you ask the up-and-coming SMS players if they are seeing increased traffic you would get a different story.

The tipping point comes when advertisers realize they MUST provide some valuable service/information FOR THE MOBILE, in order to get permission to advertise on the phone.

"As such, content and information providers must be patient, invest pragmatically and continue to offer free trials while educating consumers and marketers alike about these services," said Julie Ask, research director at JupiterResearch.

More importantly, the Googles, Yahoos and AOLs need to think like a mobile user. Just because you made your search site WAP(wireless access protocol) enabled, doesn't mean people will use it in the same way.

For 6 months I carried a notepad and I wrote down every info request I would like answered using my mobile. I asked people on the street "what info would you want from your mobile phone?". The answers are invaluable to the right people.

Want to know what I found out?


Digital Evangelist said...

Had an interesting conversation this week about Mobile Serch with a few other senior guys in Mobile.

We felt that so far no one has managed to understand the context under which people use such services.

It was our understanding that context is very important when it comes to search.

With the present data services offered by Networks we felt that the situation is unlikely to change until someone came up with a service that gives the type of breakthough seen when Google launched.

Mobile Search might not work if it remains a free to use service.

Just a few ideas you understand from 4 guys who have worked in mobile for too long.

Zaw Thet said...

I'd love to see the results from your notepad!

For us, mobile search is about delivering answers to a question. The main difference we see at 4INFO between what users search for on their phones versus what they search for on the PC is that they don't want to see a bunch of links to other web pages. What they want are short pithy answers to their questions like: what is the current score of the san francisco 49ers game?

That's the problem with online search engines moving to the mobile market. They are not building interfaces designed for the mobile phone.

Anonymous said...

that's a great exercise! i think that we would all love to see the results...pls share!

incidentally, did you jot the notes in your phone or on an actual paper notepad? :)

bigBADbobby said...

I'm with the Primate. Try this on for size, "A mobile search allows you to find mobile content, which can consist of mobile information and mobile downloads."

How about all of us agree to the validity of this statement and make it industry standard... NOW!

Anonymous said...

Love to c your note pad.But i feel the major hindrance are rates, atleast in India where i live,which deters me from using the moblie for browing the net .So i think the tipping point will come when it becomes affordable for the average users.

Scott Shaffer said...

My notes are on a notepad.

In my opinion, they are invaluable to mobile marketing companies.

That is what Visionary Innovations Inc does, provide ideas for mobile marketing companies and brands.

Scott Shaffer said...

Most of the service providers here in the States offer unlimited Web access plans. (roughly $15 per month).

They have to offer unlimited plans considering how long it takes to surf on a phone.

I use a number of great WAP sites to get my info. You dont get pictures, but the info comes fast.

If you have a site you want to access but know it's filled with images (really slows down the downloading on phone), use

Save the site as a favorite on your mobile and just type the site in their window.. They strip out the ads and images and make surfing a lot easier.

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