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  1. 2009.01.22 What’s Next – Mobile Visual Search (3)
search2009.01.22 15:50

from : http://www.promotionworld.com/news/editors/080317MobileVisualSearch.html

What is the future of mobile internet usage?

March 17, 2008

The world of Mobile search is evolving extremely fast. Beginning with keyword-based search, going through the next step - voice search, now the end user is offered to send a photo by his cell phone in order to find relevant to his photo’s query information in Internet.

Mobile Search is a developing branch that allows users to find mobile content interactively on mobile websites. With the years, mobile content has changed its media direction towards mobile multimedia. Nevertheless, mobile search is not just a simple shift of PC web search to mobile equipment, but it is connected to specialized segments of mobile broadband and mobile content, both of which have been fast-paced evolving recently.

The major search engines are aggressively trying to create applications and relationships in order to take advantage of a mobile ad market. According to a leading market research firm eMarketer, strong competition for the US mobile search market might be anticipated, having in mind the large US online ad market and strong pushes by portals. By 2011, mobile search is expected to account for around $715 million.

The Mobile directory search industry is almost as old as the telecom and offers services that enable people by entering a word or phrase on their phone to find local services based on their current location. An example of usage would be a person looking for a local hotel after a tiring journey or taxi company after a night out. The services can also come with a map and directions to facilitate the user.

What was the next step? GOOG-411. This is another but this time voice-activated mobile search. The free service allows callers to access Google’s local information through voice search. There is no doubt, that mobile voice search is simpler and more convenient for the callers than typing on the phone’s buttons.

“I’d have to be a visionary to be vindicated, and I’m making no such claim. It’s just hard to ignore that most people prefer talking in their phones to typing on them, and a mobile search engine that made voice search possible might have an easier time finding an audience”, said Bryson Meunier, Product Champion, Natural Search in a posting at www.findresolution.com. For the same reasons Meunier believes that mobile visual search could be bigger than voice search.

How do the searchers initiate a visual query? Simply by snapping a photo of something with their phone, which the mobile search engine processes with algorithms and returns relevant digital content based on its interpretation of the user’s visual query.

Visual Search is now gathering popularity. At the Cebit trade show in Germany, Vodafone demonstrated Otello, a search engine that uses images as input. Users send pictures via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) from their mobile phones. Otello then returns information relevant to the picture to the mobile phone, just like a normal search engine. There are other examples of companies like SnapNow and Mobot that have actually been offering this service for a few years. Google has its own Mobile Visual Search engines in the face of Never Vision.

Of course, the audience for mobile visual search is currently not so large, but it might be just a matter of time, predicted Meunier.

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