Last week I attended the Mobile Search Seminar at the IAB headquarters. Being relatively new to the mobile world I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but luckily there was a fantastic line up and I left the session one step closer to becoming a fully pledged mobile guru.
There was great emphasis on Google as the mobile search engine of choice, presumably because Google now dominates the mobile search portals, claiming a majority over closest competitors Yahoo and Bing.
In 2013 it is predicted that the sales of smartphones are to overtake those of desktop pcs and so it is crucial that we are now thinking about the mobile internet experience over the pc experience, while there is still room for trial and error.
According to Diana Pouliot at Google, people using high-end mobile devices are showing similar search behaviour to what we’d see on a pc. However, we must make sure not to treat pcs and mobiles as the same and instead focus on their obvious differences.
Unlike pcs, mobile’s are better suited to location searching as they are on hand when we are out and about and need answers fast. Google introduced ‘click to call’ in January, advertisers were permitted to include a phone number associated with a physical location, which would then show on high-end smartphones as an additional line of text. Click to call has proved a success, with Google reporting that there has been a ‘tremendous response rate’.
Location based search will also be of great use to the retail sector. Unveiled in December, product search for mobile with local inventory, allows you to see whether items are in stock at nearby stores. If you see a blue dot on the search screen, you can tap the link, and you’ll be taken to the seller’s page where you’ll see whether the item is in stock and how far away the shop is. A great idea for the shopper with no time to waste.
Mobile search is not only altering advertising, it is also changing our imput methods. Voice imput allows us to speak into the search box rather than type, the results are location based meaning that if you ask for cinema times, your local will pop up in the results.’Google Goggles’ is a visual search application that allows us to take pictures on our mobile and search the web. The application is extremely clever and covers a wide variety of bases such as books, contact info, places etc, however it is still only scratching the surface so don’t take a picture of your dog and expect an accurate search result.
With the growing possibilities that mobile search offers I think it is possible to predict that in the future we will be acknowledging the mobile as a better device than the desktop pc.