Mobile giants to start search engine?

February 5, 2007

An article in the Telegraph this weekend surmises that some of the large mobile companies may be plotting a new search engine to rival Google on mobiles. It seems the mobile giants are wary of Google muscling in and taking all the real estate on mobile web, especially the search area which is of course the start page of choice for web users everywhere.

Get mobile search right and it could be even more pervasive a start page on the small screen than it is on the big screen. It’s vital to get to the information you require quickly and easily on mobiles, you don’t have the bandwidth or processor to deal with downloading loads of pages, and when people are mobile they are unlikely to have the patience to put up with a poor search experience.

Vodafone, France Telecom, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Whampoa, Telecom Italia and one American network, Cingular, are some of the companies that will come together for talks at the mobile industry’s biggest trade show in Barcelona next week. If anyone is going to be able to challenge Google’s dominance in search then companies such as these are surely the type of calibre needed. A joint approach is required in order to have the pull that advertisers will want to see, and any new search (even for mobile) is of course going to have to have an advertising component.

It will be interesting to see how Google responds to this. Faced with losing search in the mobile sector they surely must do everything they can to remain as dominant in mobile as they are on PC’s. If they lost the battle for mobile search how would that affect search on the web as a whole? With mobile technology becoming increasingly important it’s possible that the winner on the small screen may be able to translate at least a modicum of that success onto the larger screens… and what would that mean for Google??

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