Marketing Pilgrim's "Local" Channel

Sponsor Marketing Pilgrim's Local Channel today! Get in front of some of the most influential readers in the Internet and social media marketing industry. Contact us today!

First Apple’s iPhone, Next Google’s GPhone

France Telecom’s mobile phone unit, Orange, reportedly sent executives to the Googleplex to discuss a potential partnership. The discussions could lead to Google’s search technology powering a new “Google phone”, which would make using cell phones as easy as the world’s most popular search engine.

Their plans centre on a branded Google phone…it might have a screen similar to a video iPod. But it would have built-in Google software which would dramatically improve on the slow and cumbersome experience of surfing the web from a mobile handset.

If you think you don’t need a Gphone, you may want to consider the features a Google-powered phone will bring…

Among the potential benefits are location-based searches: aware of your handset’s geographical position, Google could offer a tailored list of local cinemas, restaurants and other amenities, and maps and images from Google Earth.

Virgin Mobile Taps JumpTap for Mobile Search Technology

Virgin Mobile and JumpTap have announced a partnership that will see JumpTap’s mobile search engine technology powering Virgin’s cell phones.

Launching in February, this new search functionality will make it simple for Virgin Mobile customers to quickly discover the broadest amount of content they’re looking for, both within Virgin Mobiles own suite of content (i.e., on-portal), as well as out on the mobile Web (off-portal).

The deal not only enhances the search experience for Virgin Mobile’s cell phone users, but also opens up new advertising options with relevant sponsored links being delivered alongside organic search results.

Hat-tip to Ben Wills.

Ask.com Launches AskCity

Ask.com has taken its existing maps service, combined it with content from parent-company IAC’s CitySearch and Ticketmaster, stirred the ingredients and baked at 400F for 20 minutes. The result? A great new way to search for business, events, movies and maps using a new service called AskCity.

The interface is easy to use, and the 3-panel layout means you’ll keep track of your search. The integration of IAC’s CitySearch and Ticketmaster, means you can also purchase tickets for your favorite events!

Just one question for Ask.com. How hard is it to coordinate the launch with your own blog announcement? This is a great launch and shows how Ask will continue to benefit from IAC, so this two-line note on your blog doesn’t cut-it. Sorry.

Mobile Phone Operators Quaking in their Boots

It appears mobile phone operators are trying a new tact in their effort to compete with mobile app providers – begging them to stop.

Chris Sacca, head of special initiatives at Google, told an event at Oxford University’s Said Business School that “we’ve been getting notes from some of the telco carriers who are saying ‘look, you need to stop our customers from downloading this thing’.”

If only Alta Vista had thought to ask Google not to start a search engine, they might still be in business.

“Look, Larry, you and Sergey have created this new search engine and it’s simply taking away our user-base. You need to pull the plug on Google or else!” ;-)

Google Click-to-Call Subject to Phone Pranks?

For a brief time yesterday, TechCrunch speculated that Google had removed its Click-to-Call function on Google Maps, due to prank calls. The post was later updated to confirm the function was still in place.

It does raise an interesting question about the potential for abuse. What is to stop someone from simply clicking dozens of links and entering the phone numbers of friends, enemies or premium numbers?

I can see the spammers making their plans now. Within weeks we’ll hear about a wave of businesses receiving phone calls with recorded messages from an ousted prince in Nigeria.

Microsoft to Provide Mobile Search Ads to Sprint

ClickZ reports Sprint has joined forces with Microsoft to display pay-per-call ads and search on its phones.

The deal will make Microsoft’s fledgling Windows Live Search for mobile product available to Sprint wireless users…Sprint users will be able to use the Windows Live Search technology to perform local area searches, according to the companies.

Ingenio is reportedly the provider of the pay-per-call infrastructure.

Local Internet Ad Spending to Double by 2010

The Kelsey Group has released its annual prediction on the global increase in local search and online classifieds spending.

According to ClickZ

The forecast asserts the local search segment will grow from $3.4 billion in 2005 to $13 billion in 2010, with online classifieds growing from $12.3 billion to $18.1 billion. Overall local search and online classified spending will grow from $15.7 billion in 2005 to twice that, or $31.1 billion, in 2010.

It makes a lot of sense. As more and more small business discover the value of online advertising, they’ll also want solutions that are tailored to their local audience.