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Google Maps Gets Another "Wow" Factor

When Google first launched Google Maps I immediately fell in love with the whole “grab and move” concept of navigation – as opposed to the click “north” or “east” to see more approach.

Google’s upped the ante again with a new feature that lets you pick you start and end destination by simply clicking on the map. In addition, once your route is shown, you can drag and drop the “blue line” to switch the roads chosen – handy for when you know a certain road is always busy or is under repair.

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Pretty slick! Maybe they’ll add a feature to let you navigate to the exact spot where they took the photo of someone breaking into a house. ;-)

Study Shows US Mobiles Outpacing Land Lines

If you’re like me, you long ago abandoned your antiquated landline and are exclusively using your mobile for telephone calls. Apparently we’re not alone.

According to findings released today by Ingenio, Inc. (“voice commerce solutions” provider) and conducted by Harris Interactive® nearly 85% of people surveyed admitted to having a mobile compared to only 71% admitting to having a land line. When you dig a little deeper you discover that only 57% of adults between 18-34 have a land line.

More than just calls

Making calls is just one part of what US consumers are doing on their mobile devices. 49% of those surveyed indicated that they’ve used their phone “for more than just making and receiving phone calls”. 57% stated they “anticipate using their phones for more than just making and receiving phone calls in the next three years.”

No Surprise! Google Takes Early Lead

M:Metrics – consumer consumption yardstick – has released the April 2007 rankings (based on Percentage of Active Reach) of the top mobile Web destinations (aggregated across company owned domains) among Smartphone users in the US…

  • Google (62.48 percent)
  • Yahoo (33.54 percent)
  • Microsoft (33.36 percent)
  • AT&T* (21.22 percent)
  • Time Warner (19.06 percent)
  • Disney (17.00 percent)
  • MySpace/FOX – News Corp (15.54 percent)
  • Sprint Nextel* (15.29 percent)
  • Weather Channel (15.28 percent)
  • eBay (14.19 percent)

and in the UK…

  • Google (30.94 percent)
  • Orange (21.68 percent)
  • BBC (20.90 percent)
  • Microsoft (17.75 percent)
  • Vodafone* (16.79 percent)
  • eBay (13.08 percent)
  • O2* (12.77 percent)
  • 3* (12.67 percent)
  • Yahoo (10.97 percent)
  • T-Mobile* (10.71 percent)

* mobile operators

Yahoo’s Mobile Expansion: Ready, Set, Go!

We’ll put aside Yahoo’s CEO woes and turn our attention to their continued expansion of mobile services. The company has already made many announcements over the past few weeks, and tomorrow they’ll officially make two new mobile announcements.

First up, Yahoo’s announcing new features for Yahoo! Go for Mobile 2.0 including:

  • Faster than ever before ? Greatly increased speed, including substantially reduced loading time, makes it even more fun to use.
  • Even better e-mail ? Ability to read more types of attachments, including PDF files and Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents, and access to Yahoo! Mail folders.
  • More powerful maps ? View both satellite and hybrid maps, current traffic conditions and optional GPS integration on select devices, including the Blackberry 8800.

Opera Mini 4 Steals iPhone Thunder

Opera has released a beta version, codenamed Dimension, of Mini 4.0 – the company’s mobile browser – bringing the iPhone’s surf and zoom facility (overview mode) to any handset!

Opera Mini 4 - Overview Mode

With a few other goodies thrown in – fuller CSS compatibility and faster (more economical) page loading – both existing users and new alike will be tempted. Check out the demo here.

According to the press release more than 15 million handsets already have the Opera browser installed. Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, thanked the mobile community in advance of the 4.0 beta feedback:

Opera Mini has succeeded only due to the support of the people who have made it the most popular mobile browser available today

Broadsheets To Leverage Text Messaging

USA TODAY is to print short code numbers that readers can text message to access real-time news, whilst the Financial Times will run an in-store poster campaign across 1,250 retail outlets offering cash vouchers in reply to a text response.

Matt Jones, director of mobile strategy at Gannett Digital, a unit of USA TODAY’s parent company, confirms:

a lot of marketers are thinking of how they can best leverage mobile phone users

The US broadsheet publisher will combine a mobile search platform with standard-rate text messaging in an effort to provide up-to-the-minute news on the go – including sports scores, weather forecasts and stock quotes.

Mobile is basically a downstream distribution point for all of the national and local content we produce… We want to make our news and information available to consumers in the format that they choose.

1/3 Mobile Content Revenues from Premium SMS

The Center for Media Research today reports on a new study on mobile content revenue, the Telephia Premium SMS Report. In Q1 2007, premium SMS brought in $273M, or 32% of all mobile content revenues.

For this study, premium SMS included everything from voting for American Idol to “off-portal storefront purchases,” which included ringtones, screensavers and the like. Naturally, off-portal storefront purchases generated the highest amount of revenue: $214.9M or 79% of premium SMS revenue.

Other large revenue categories included voting and sweepstakes entries, with $35.4M (13%), chat/community, with $5.7M (2%), and “other,” with $17.4M (6%).