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What is a Mobile Search?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated Jan 20, 2024
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Information retrieval with the click of a button or a mouse is a phenomenon that has become explosive. The ability to access all kinds of information from weather forecasts to stock forecasts and everything in between has brought even some the most reluctant people into the age of technology. It began with computers. Search engines such as Google® made it possible for users to find specific content quickly and easily. Mobile internet access and mobile searches are following the same path.

Knowing that they can find nearly any type of information imaginable with a few clicks or keystrokes has led many people to purchase computers, even those whom at first shied away from the idea. Now, it’s gone beyond jumping on the computer or even using a laptop. People can access much of the same information via a mobile search.

While many people prefer the ease of texting, they can also access email with a cell phone. There is more to the internet than email however, and people are using mobile search options to retrieve various types of information on the run, from looking up phone numbers in mobile directories or locating maps to help them get to their destination.

There are specialized mobile search engines that help users find the mobile content they need. While the online giants hope to exploit this market, wireless providers also want a piece of the mobile search pie. While some are willing to work with Google® or Yahoo!®, others are perfecting their own mobile search interfaces.

Issues like bandwidth, handset screen size, and other limitations must also be taken into consideration by the mobile search industry. Mobile search results must be optimized to return only the most relevant results due to limited space. There is also an issue of providing more localized, specialized information instead of general content.

While many people are not going to do the majority of their surfing or seek general information via mobile phone, they will use a mobile search to locate specialized information. Users looking for a nearby restaurant don’t want to search through numerous returns that include restaurants across the state, the country, or even the world. People want instant access to things like local movie theaters including show times. This can be achieved and is sometimes done with click to call advertisements. Mobile search companies must also focus on local businesses for some of their ad revenues, and find creative ways to squeeze ads into mobile search results with limited space.

There are many other sources of content that can be retrieved via mobile search. In fact, mobile users can search the entire web. However, specific content and easy access to it is what will sell mobile products. Things like traffic reports, driving directions, local news and weather, and the location of the nearest gas station, are going to be more useful to the mobile user. Having the ability to search by voice instead of typing in requests is also a plus and mobile phones seem to come out with more and better features every day.

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Discussion Comments
By anon128554 — On Nov 19, 2010

I saw that once myself and had saved the site but then had a computer problem and all my work was deleted. I remember that site and you could type the number that you wanted to find info on, like who had called that number and whom that number called and it would give you a list of the contact phone numbers. It was super. I've been looking for it myself and no such luck yet. Will post if found.

By anon122617 — On Oct 28, 2010

could someone help? there was a site I found once, whereby, you could put a phone number in and it would show you the phone numbers that have called that particular number that you had wanted to find out about. Does anyone know of this site?

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