Mobile Users Want to Google Too
By Eric Lin, Thu Jun 10 01:00:00 GMT 2004

Google is so famous on the desktop that their name is now a verb for "search." As internet access from mobile devices continues to increase, we will start to "Moogle" too?


Adding mail, shopping, and news, to its search engine, Google is evolving into a portal as portals like MSN and Yahoo! are trying to take on Google's search engine dominance. While they compete for dominance on the desktop, none of these players have a firm grasp on the mobile space yet. For the time being, carrier portals are serving the same function as MSN or Yahoo! but their dominance is not assured if desktop players get into the game -- and they're all getting into the game.

MSN has finally launched Pocket MSN, a portal application for Microsoft Smartphones and Pocket PC phones which aggregates access to a number of their desktop services like Hotmail and MapPoint, reformatting them for mobile devices. Yahoo! has integrated mobile devices into a number of their desktop services, and has developed an application to allow AT&T Wireless subscribers to access their Yahoo! Photos account. These applications work with each portal's core strength (Microsoft has an operating system, Yahoo! has tons of online content) but those aren't necessarily mobile strengths.

Although all three portals have mobile websites as well, none of them are particularly strong. Google knows it's behind and "that if it doesn't launch products that improve Web searches on handheld devices, it will fail to win a significant share of an increasingly important part of the online market." Now is Google's chance to pull out in the lead. It's already announced that it will make the new GMail service mobile accessible. But it's other services, the search services it's so famous for are the ones that mobile users don't have and would greatly benefit from.

Google's search engine, it's Froogle shopping service, and the new Google Local would all be boon to mobile users, but only if Google is able to create an equally simple interface and present the results in a mobile friendly manner. It has a chance to become equally as famous on the mobile phone as they are on the desktop, but it's anyone's race right now. The question for Google as well as for users is who will it be competing against: other desktop portals or the carrier portals.