Last week Microsoft released version 2 of their mobile search application featuring “Improved Navigation, Cache, Movie Searching, GPS, Traffic reporting and more.”
The Mobile Search team has released V2 of the rich client application for Windows Mobile, as well as a major update to the browser based interface. Whether you have a J2ME (Java) phone, Windows Mobile phone, or any other device with a mobile browser, Live Search has you covered with maps, directions and business search. The J2ME and Windows mobile applications add a bunch of advanced features not possible in the browser based app. There’s also a beta version of the client app for Blackberry devices.
There are more details and screenshots by following the link. When version 1 was released in February the Windows Mobile and Java versions were respectively named Windows Live Search for Windows Mobile and Windows Live Search for Java, but the branding has apparently now been fuzzed with all variants now going under the name of “Live Search for Mobile” or permutations thereof. There are more details on the rich client versions at the FAQ and downloads page (USA and UK only) and the mobile browser version is at http://m.live.com/.
Did someone declare that today was mobile phone day? On top of the news from Microsoft/ZenZui and Yahoo, it turns out that Google chose today to release a new search for mobile phones:
For the last few weeks, some of our users have been test-driving our new mobile search and providing us with feedback so we can make it better. Now, we’ve actually been using your feedback to improve our mobile search since 2001. But the steps we’ve taken recently have everyone here pretty excited, as they increase the power of our search technology, helping you get the answers you need with minimal effort and distraction.
Starting today, we’re making our new mobile search openly available, so everyone can take it for a spin. The next time you visit Google.com on your phone, you’ll see a link that will take you to a mobile search experience that’s more tailored to your needs …
More details by following the link, but the gist is that the results are more attuned to your location and to mobile aware websites in the search results. Is it better than Yahoo’s new oneSearch? Try them both out and decide for yourself.
Yahoo! Inc. today announced the launch of Yahoo! Mobile Publisher Services, a suite of services designed to enable publishers to increase the discovery, distribution and monetization of their content on mobile phones. The new services publishers will have access to are the Yahoo! Mobile Ad Network, Mobile Content Engine, Mobile Media Directory and Mobile Site Submit.
Yahoo! Mobile Publisher Services are part the company’s initiative to deliver tools to advertisers, publishers and network operators.
The Yahoo! Mobile Ad Network will allow mobile publishers to have syndicated advertising served on their mobile content and services. Publishers will be able to select the ad formats they want to have run, such as display, sponsored links, video or in-game placements.
The Yahoo! Mobile Content Engine will enable publishers to bring their content to Yahoo!’s mobile audience. It will also help enable publishers who do not have a mobile site or only have a limited mobile offering to quickly distribute their content to consumers on their mobile phones.
The Yahoo! Mobile Media Directory will allow publishers to make their mobile media content accessible directly through Yahoo! oneSearch. Publishers could submit a catalog of their content such as ringtones, games, video and applications.
The Yahoo! Mobile Site Submit will allow publishers to provide information about their mobile site, such as a description and relevant tags, to ensure that their sites are accurately indexed and available to consumers through Yahoo! oneSearch. For example, a hotel could submit their mobile site, including description and tag, enabling weekend travelers to find their location and see if they still have rooms available through Yahoo! oneSearch.
The Yahoo! Mobile Publisher Services will go live today across 19 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, US and Vietnam.
Yahoo gets points for a big push into what is expected to be a lucrative business, but it’s clearly early days yet:
Yahoo’s network of publishers at this point is tiny — three Web services, including MobiTV, a video service to be used with cellphones; Opera, a maker of Web browsers; and Go2, a Yellow Pages site. But the company said it planned to expand the network quickly over the next few months.
“We are being very aggressive on mobile and moving extremely fast to get the building blocks in place,” said Steve Boom, Yahoo’s senior vice president for broadband and mobile. “We felt that business services for publishers is something that was lacking.”
Yahoo, which has fallen a distant second behind Google in Internet search and search-related advertising, has been busy promoting new mobile search software, which it introduced in January. The software, called oneSearch, is intended to allow users to quickly find information like sports scores and weather reports without scrolling through a long list of Web links.
Advertising on sites arrayed for mobile phones is a tiny market, but it is expected to grow quickly, and a number of companies, including the leading wireless carriers, are jockeying for position. Yahoo and Google have both been delivering ads linked to search results on cellphones since last year, but Yahoo is the first of the major Internet firms to introduce a mobile ad network.
You may recall that oneSearch was expanded to most mobile phones just last week.
Nielsen NetRatings released their February US Web search estimates today and Google seems to be pulling away from Yahoo while Microsoft got a reprieve:
Google Inc. commanded 55.8 percent of the search engine market in February, gaining further ground over rival Yahoo Inc., according to market research firm NetRatings Inc.
Google’s share of searches climbed from 53.7 percent in January of this year. An estimated 3.6 billion search queries were conducted on Google, up 40.3 percent year-over-year.
Yahoo’s market share slid to 20.7 percent from 22.7 percent in January. Users conducted an estimated 1.33 billion searches on Yahoo during the month, up 12 percent from the year-ago period.
Microsoft Corp.’s MSN search engine held 9.6 percent of the market, up from 8.9 percent in January. About 618.3 million searches were conducted on MSN search during February, up 9.1 percent year-over-year.
Yahoo’s not taking it lying down however. Today, they announced the expansion of their mobile search service to cover most US cell phones:
Yahoo! Inc. has today expanded the reach of the popular new Yahoo! oneSearch service to the Mobile Web in the United States. Yahoo! oneSearch reinvents search to give consumers exactly what they want on their mobile device – instant answers. The innovative search service that initially launched in Yahoo! Go for Mobile 2.0 is now accessible on more than 85 percent of mobile phones through the mobile Web and is also available through the gamma version of Yahoo! Go for Mobile 2.0. The service leverages Yahoo!’s deep experience, investment and expertise in search on the desktop as well as relationships with leading content providers to deliver an un-matched search experience to consumers.
The search experience is the selling point and if you hit the “Dare to Compare” button on the oneSearch website you’ll see a graphic and flattering comparison to Google for various searches. (Apparently they didn’t feel Microsoft was worth swatting.) Yahoo’s search results are certainly prettier than Google’s, but I’m not entirely sure that all the bling is beneficial and Information Week’s Eric Zeman kicks the oneSearch tires and similarly suggests that the services are comparable.
However, the winner won’t be determined by reviews – do what everybody else will do and try them both (and any applicable mobile version of Windows Live Search too) and decide on your personal favorite. Later we’ll count the votes.