Posted February 20, 2007 9:44 am by with 6 comments

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Business Week looks at the battle to dominate the mobile search space and its estimated $11.4 billion ad spend by 2011.

While Google has the lead, Yahoo is making a strong challenge and there are a many white-label providers out there.

Regardless of who is leading at the moment, the mobile search field is wide open. What’s more, though brand matters to mobile users, it seems that service matters even more. “To think that you have a straight line from Internet success over to mobile is missing what is happening in the marketplace,” says M:Metric senior analyst Mark Donovan. “This market is up for grabs.”

  • With Mobile Search it really seems that the appetite is with businesses much more than consumers.

    When I recently upgraded my phone I made sure I had a lot more data included in my bundle and bar the occasional wikipedia query when down the pub it’s not seen much use.

    I’m normally within a few feet of my ibook or sat at my pc at work for all my searching needs.

    Maybe if I was travelling more….

  • This is very interesting data. There’s so little data available today on mobile search, I’d be curious as to how they calculated that number.

    I expect mobile search, while still really a quiet area in the US today, will see a surge as the iPhone comes out this summer. It should make surfing on your phone easier, so I’m excited to see how that impacts mobile search.

  • I definately think the next generation of smarter consumer phones might make a difference Janet, but as the phones get more sophisticated surely its just going to become easier to use traditional web search?

  • Kevin,

    I agree somewhat, but the age old problem with phones and PDAs still exist — you’re almost always going to have to have a website designed specifically for handheld devices. I can see a future where Google and the like have one index and auto detect your browser to determine what type of sites to show you — mobile-optimized sites such as MOBI or regular HTML. But there is some benefit to being able to choose now.

    As a searcher, by choosing the mobile index, I know I’m getting results that will most likely be a list of websites I can truly read and view on my phone. But I will admit also that I believe that the mobile web design will evolve, not unlike early HTML evolved in the mid-nineties.

    I also can see local search becoming merged more with mobile search. How great would it be if you could search for the closest Starbucks to your location, without having to know the zip code? Where your phone just knows where you are and gives you the closest location? I look forward to that use of my mobile phone more than anything.

  • I think you’re right Janet about the benefits of local search in terms of finding things when you aren’t sure where you are. Though finding a Starbucks is never difficult walk a few minutes and you’ll find one!

    I hadn’t thought of the possibility of a seperate index for mobile optimised pages. That I can definately see being helpful, especially if most users aren’t even aware of the filtering.

  • I have only ever used my mobile phone to check my adsense balance when I don’t have access to a computer. Can’t say I’ve ever had the need to search for something..