Hardware & Infrastructure
News
1/5/2007
06:23 PM
50%
50%

Even With China Mobile Deal, Google's Got A Tough Sell In Mobile Search

Its deal with the world's largest mobile service company is a nice place to start, though.

Google now has the world's largest provider of mobile-phone service, China Mobile, as a partner. But mobile search has far to go to be more than the niche service it is today.

China's a fine place to start, though. China Mobile, with about 300 million subscribers, including 4.6 million added in November, has the reach to spur mobile search. The deal means China Mobile will use its portal to give customers access to Google search, according to a deal announced this week.

Chinese mobile users are a lot more proficient with mobile search compared with U.S. users, says Yankee Group analyst XJ Wang. But even their searches are mostly limited to content like ring tones and screen wallpaper, rather than restaurants and shops that could most easily lead to ad revenue. Google also faces competition from companies such as the Chinese search engine Baidu, which has a deal in which Nokia installs an icon to reach Baidu's mobile search services.

In the U.S., mobile search is even more nascent. U.S. service providers haven't partnered with Google the way China Mobile has. There have been a few mobile-search deals in the U.S., says William Ho at Current Analysis. For example, Microsoft Live is working with Sprint, JumpTap with Alltel, and Verizon Wireless offers its own branded searching, using a Seattle company, Medio. Yahoo has a relationship with Cingular and Nokia.

Carriers know they will need to offer search for mobile Internet to be relevant. But today's experience, including the user interface on cell phones, falls short of what most people will accept. "But the ramp is developing, and it will certainly be much more common in two to three years time," says Gartner's Tole Hart.

Google must be hoping this is another emerging mobile technology that takes off in Asia, but eventually finds its way to the U.S.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.