Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mobile Search Field is Wide Open

According to this article in Business Week, when people "google" on their phone, they're not necessarily defaulting to Google's mobile site. Google is the leading search site on mobile, albeit with a thinner margin over Yahoo than on the desktop, with MSN lagging way behind. But a company I'd never heard of until today, Medio Systems, is powering the default search engine for Verizon, T-Mobile and Amp'd with a "white label" solution. They got in there because they are sharing revenue with the mobile carriers, whereas Big Search is not doing so yet.

The stumbling blocks for search on mobile is the same as for the Web on mobile: speed. Plus, it turns out people are less patient waiting for results on mobile than on the desktop, and don't want to navigate a bunch of links to get their answer.

I can definitely picture that. The speed thing, along with the resolution thing and the cost thing (mine is a pay-as-you-go 1¢ per Kb, and lots of web pages are a few hundred Kbs) is keeping me myself largely offline on my phone. The only people I know who use mobile web regularly are those whose companies pay for the high monthly fees. But even when mobile web solves these three issues, I think people will still use it for different reasons than the computer web. I believe mobile web will be used more for a quick info grab rather for than an entertainment experience. I know many companies are betting on long-form programming for mobile, but unless there is a significant redesign which allow for a substantially larger screen plus current ease of portability, I just don't see it becoming huge.

No comments: