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Yahoo Introduces Wide Range Of Mobile Search Improvements
Yahoo made a range of mobile search-related announcements today at CTIA. At a high level, these include: Open oneSearch (Search Monkey for mobile), Search Assist for mobile, voice-enabled oneSearch, and “idle screen” search.
I spoke this morning with Lee Ott of Yahoo’s mobile/Connected Life group and he demonstrated voice-enabled oneSearch (initially only for Blackberries), which is first being offered as a separate search client and will later become part of Go. That capability, which was impressive, is being provided by startup Vlingo, in which Yahoo has also invested.
(Yesterday, Microsoft announced that voice search capabilities were being expanded for Live Search.)
Yahoo is also opening up mobile search in the same way it has on the desktop with Search Monkey (the unofficial name). Ott told me that publishers and site owners could do this once for both desktop and mobile or they could do something separate for mobile as well. (Think: dynamic feeds that respond to mobile use cases.) According to Ott, this will likely impact (though not determine) mobile search rankings.
Search Assist is also being introduced for mobile on both the Go application and for WAP. The benefit is query completion and disambiguation. The expectation is that this will produce a much improved user experience, reduce the frustration of keying in mobile queries, and thus increase mobile search volumes. Along the same lines, the voice-enabled search capability should dramatically boost query string length and volume because it even more profoundly removes query/keyboard friction for mobile search.
Finally Yahoo will also be introducing idle-screen search so that users will see a oneSearch box on the home screen of their phones. (Google recently introduced something similar with a home screen search plug-in.) The Yahoo upgrades will be available in a few months in the US and later in Europe and Asia.