Microsoft has introduced enhanced mobile product search at m.live.com. It shrinks down the content from the desktop product search into a bite-sized mobile presentation. You get images, reviews, product specifications, and features. These things don’t come up for every category; however, it’s a very nice presentation of information, and the available categories should grow rapidly.
The company has simultaneously introduced “Find My Location,” based on cell phone tower triangulation, for Japan and the UK.
Here are some screens of the product search beta for mobile:
The “Find My Location” feature is similar to Google’s My Location feature and works on the same principle of triangulating user location via proximity to cell towers. It saves the step of entering location before searching.
(These capabilities will also allow, in the future, for more locally precise paid search results.)
The combination of Find My Location and product search will one day (soon) enable people to find real-time inventory in local stores on the go. That capability is currently rolling out on the desktop. For now, however, the new mobile product search is valuable as a way to compare products in the store and check price information.
A 2006 consumer survey by the e-Tailing Group found that roughly 19 percent of shoppers visit local stores and then buy online at least some of the time.