by Bill French on 09/11/09 at 7:00 pm
I’ve said this before – enterprise strategies for smartphones (and iPhone in particular) tend to focus more on the internal issues of device adoption, management, security, and application deployment. Little airtime is given to the external implications these devices have on businesses both large and small.
Enterprise adoption rates get plenty of media attention because revenues for devices and services are contingent upon significant investments by some large and influential players. But as a CTO or other C-level executive in any organization that derives income through efficient use of web technologies, the impact of smartphones from external business drivers may be as large (or larger) than the internal impact.
It’s time to for companies to take seriously, the consumer adoption rate of these devices and more importantly, consumer behaviors surrounding mobile search – again, iPhone in particular. As we know, search is a huge activity on the web; mobile search is a key activity that affects local and global businesses and the stats show a significant portion of mobile search is done with iPhone’s Safari browser.
As we know, Google is the leading search engine and it’s no surprise that it dominates mobile search. This is predictable for two reasons; (i) iPhone is the most popular device for browsing the web (64% market share), and (ii) Google is the the default search engine for iPhone. While Google’s overall
search market share hovers just above 60%, its mobile search share is more than 97%. Whatever strategy you develop for mobile search, be sure to consider how decidedly stacked the advantage is for Google plus iPhone while keeping a close eye on Android.
Google’s recent announcement for new mobile search features and enhanced custom search engine (CSE) services to include optimization for mobile browsers, are strong indicators that the GOOG is anticipating rapid growth in mobile search.
In a recent investor relations call, Google Senior VP of product management, Jonathan Rosenberg said “Search traffic volume is being very nicely driven on mobile by smartphone adoption. In some markets, like in Japan, mobile searches are growing twice as fast as desktop searches over the last year or so.” Financial analysts Jefferies & Co. Inc. predict that Google’s mobile search revenues will top $500 million by 2011.
Google Custom Mobile Search
Google CSE’s (custom search engines) have been around for a long time providing a comprehensive solution for site search. At my company we use CSE’s on our own websites and blogsites and we also integrate them into our client sites. I like to think of CSE’s as second-tier search; the search activity that begins when you land on a site and you need to drill a little deeper to find exactly what you want. This requirement is no different on mobile devices than it is on desktops. Google is really good at helping you find good sites to search for what you really want. Because of this, custom search engines for mobile users is no less important.
While it’s possible to use a CSE with Safari on iPhone, the experience isn’t optimal. This is where Google’s CSE group saw the opportunity to optimize the experience for iPhone users and other mobile devices.
The iPhone screenshot on the left is what our own custom search engine (at Blogsite®) looks like on iPhone’s Safari browser. On the right is the same CSE rendered specifically for iPhone. This is achieved without requiring CSE owners to write any additional code except for redirecting iPhone browsers to the mobile search URL for your CSE.
The automatic CSE rendering for iPhone requires only a new URL that specifies the CSE’s identity. Use this link in Safari for iPhone to experience this custom mobile search engine.
Providing a simple and effective solution for mobile search is ideal for companies that have embraced Google’s custom search engine service. Even small businesses can adopt this approach for site search without significant technical resources. Google’s CSE system is now provides a seamless gateway for businesses to provide custom mobile search engines.
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