Shortly before releasing their latest results showing a slowdown in advertising sales in the fourth quarter of 2007, Google announced the launch of their ‘new’ mobile search engine (or, should we say, the improved version of the previous one).
Google says that with the new search service, mobile phone users will get results that best fit what they’re looking for, with search results combined from different bodies of information, so users don’t need to sift through both mobile and regular web results, or specify their search type. Instead, Google will search through the whole web, mobile web, news articles, local business listings, and image index to get the information needed and then provide the most relevant results. A search for cats, for example, provides links to photos of cats as well as web pages.
Google’s new mobile search also improves the local search experience. By remembering a user’s recent search locations, the new service is said to provide relevant local results in subsequent searches-no need to retype the location every time. Once a user has entered a location, searches for weather or restaurants, for example, provide information tailored specifically to that user’s location. The service is now available in the UK, France, Germany and Canada. It has been available in the US since March last year.
It is claimed that fewer clicks will now be necessary to access meaningful search results on mobile devices, which is a welcome improvement. The jury is still out as to how effective the new search engine is, but while we may not be there in terms of ultimate functionality, it is clearly a step in the right direction. Bizarrely, we still have to type in “http://mobile.google.com” instead of just “http://google.mobi” or “http://m.google.com”, but that’s a different story…