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Europe's biggest telecoms groups are aiming to create a mobile phone search engine that could challenge Yahoo! and Google, the US giants.
Vodafone, France Telecom, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Whampoa, Telecom Italia and one American network, Cingular, are among the companies that will come together for secret, high-level talks at the mobile industry's biggest annual trade show in Barcelona next week.
Nobody is actually using mobile search today (even Google has a mobile version of their search engine). Only 5 to 10% of the mobile subscribers are using their mobile phone to surf the Net today. There are many reasons for this, the most relevant ones are:
- Cumbersome user interface (try entering a longer search term on a phone keypad)
- Way too expensive internet tariffs
- Too few mobile enabled landing pages (i.e. even IF you used a phone to search for something AND clicked on a result, you may not find what you were expecting)
- Users are annoyed with the approach of mobile network operators trying to control their surfing behaviour through "walled gardens" and the like
I can understand that mobile network operators are panicing, because data revenue is their last hope to keep their revenues up, but as things are right now, people won't use their phone to surf the Net (or to search for something on their mobile, let alone to BUY something with their mobile phone).
For niches, maybe, but the general public is not interested in this. (Ah, yes, it may change at some point in time, but not in the next two years.)