Mobile Internet + Local Search = $$$


Martinibuster's definitely on to something with his The Internet: Are we there yet? posting:

Mobile phone and PDA internet connectivity may create a side industry that can grow the local search area. That in itself will spur development of mobile friendly websites.

Mobile internet and local search is clearly going to getting more attention once the .mobi TLD goes into sunrise in May of 2006. If you're looking to learn a little more background about .mobi Monte Kahn of Moniker got an interview with Rick Fant last year that's worth a listen MP3 File.

Let's not forget the Google made some premptive landgrabs last year with the purchase of Android and Dodgeball last year. At the time these purchases may not have made sense but almost a year later now that we have advertising integrated into Google Maps it's pretty clear Google is poised to get some first mover advantage.

Are you thinking about thinking about the mobile internet and how you can monetize it?



Well after reading that article integrating voice mobile and local search into cars would be really slick. How useful would it be to ask "where is the nearest Starbucks", "where is the nearest bookstore", or "where is the nearest chinese takeout" and get a listing and have tie into your GPS direction guidance system. Combine it with "click to call advertising" and you could really drag some local players into search advertising.

rain for your parade

i applaud roger for his vision, as always. he's got a great head on his shoulders, and is often many steps ahead of the industry in terms of forecasting potential trends.

however, in this case, the thing that puts the hex on his ideas for these new methods of interaction with mobile media is the UI. let's review:

1) blackberry / pda: let's take a step back from ourselves and realize that the vast majority of the populace (in the U.S.) barely understands what a blackberry is, much less wants to buy one

2) sms: texting fucking blows. it can be done, and is wildly popular with the tweens. but it takes a day and a half to construct a normal sentence, which leads us to illegible abbreviations that morph as quickly as the culture does. hardly a reliable input mechanism that you can build a business around. Gd lck w/tht LMAOWRAONTFWMP (translates to "good luck with that - laughing my as off while rolling around on the floor with my puppies").

3) voice recognition: three decades of research by the brightest minds at bell labs and the nsa, and the best we can do to interpret a user saying "blockbuster in san mateo" is "block hustler in bran major". the voice recognition technology behind the scenes is improving daily, supported by increased processing power. the big bummer is the fact that voice quality on a mobile phone in the U.S. is dogshit. up until a few months ago, the largest mobile carrier, Verizon, used "Can you hear me now?" as their catch phrase. no, we can't hear you. the quality of your service is terrible.

finally, the quality of voice recognition in a moving vehicle is complicated to an even greater degree by acoustic factors in the cabin and ambient noise. you end up having to revert to short, easily intelligible phrases that the system prompts you for, rather than being able to speak naturally and get what you wanted.

which = user frustration, which = you end up screaming "OPERATOR!!!" when you get too pissed off to continue. fun stuff.

voice recognition

The link DG posted pointed at a thread offering details of a new voice driven search patent from Google, and the background story from

Sorry Aaron

I often forget the context of what I'm thinking about, as opposed to what I post. Just too much thought going on sometimes to slow down. Like politics, all business, is local, FIRST.

Interesting Motorola report

Interesting and related Motorola report on 3G usage and community-prompted innovations around the world.

Should get some people's idea cortexes twitching...

Obvious Conclusions

If Google is filing patents regarding Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology it can mean one of 3 things, that 1) either Google is preparing to reap a ton of money from cell companies using Google's patents or 2) that Google is preparing to use this technology to directly compete at some level in the wireless/wifi market to get a distinct advantage over other players or 3) Google is going to leverage these patents with a partner company and do all of the above.

Guess if you hire enough PhD's something lucrative will eventually happen.

and the answer is



it make sense if you are local to get in your car and then try to find something local? yikes, some of the theory is ridiculous.

Where ya goin honey?


Which one?

I don't know, I'll ask the car.

errr ok

Travelers should find the usual suspects though.. massage parlors, attractions, etc. but then again will the concierge be running ad blockers?

Counter Programming

Now this may be a bit too big-brotherish but if the car knew you were going to McDonalds how about offering you a free whopper for going to burger king?

The supermarkets have been doing this for years, if you buy Tide laundry detergent at the checkout it spits out a $1 off coupon for Arm & Hammer detergent.

Agreed that you aren't going use it for the places you already know where they are, but with two cranky kids in the back seat who are hungry after a day trip to asking the car where is the closest McDonalds is definitely a useful feature.


All I know is that Yahoo Local Search works really good on my Palm TX PDA and I already have the local free wireless hotspots located. So when I'm out looking for elusive widgets to buy I can pop into a local coffee house and check local search, and maybe call on my cell instead of driving around hunting all day or driving all the way home.

I also know that none of the other local searches comes even close to Yahoo for my area.

I don't care if the rest of the public knows about Blackberry or PDA's - I do know that pay phones are dying off rapidly and none have phone books attached anymore so this system - flawed as it is - works for me.

SMS: Agreed it blows. I can't see it becoming mainstream to search via SMS.


Not silly at all, follow along here...

What you consider desktop search vs mobile search is your first paradigm shift as your needs are different as you won't be researching homework from your cell phone.

Here's the mobile search paradigm:

You're standing in downtown San Francisco and are interested in going out for Italian food.

Your cell phone or car nav center pulls up a list of all Italian places based on your current GPS location, and you can order them by proximity and ratings. They may have offers right there, you pick one and it gives you simple directions to the location or in the case of the car nav starts telling you where to turn next.

Another scenario, you want to go see a movie, your cell phone can tell you everything playing within a 5 mile radius from where you stand, you pick a movie and it tells you where it's playing closest, what times, and how to get there.

Let's fact it, Google Maps has most of this information so it's just a couple of years to tie it to all the mobile devices and cell networks to make it simpler to use with less input on your end and it'll be awesome.


IncrediBILL , I get the part after "You're standing in downtown San Francisco", its the getting there that I don't. Although I have done the SF thing before with no REAL destination in mind, like Fishermans Wharf and figure it out when I get there, but that was tourism.

Anyway, small confession, when I leave my home its no tech, I found several years ago that the more "connected" I became the more disconnected I was to those who mattered, so I'm poorly qualified to speculate on the tech. Luddite by choice I guess.

that's just cause you're not wired, hardball.

Attenton is a critical component of sensation and awareness. You are not truly "wired" with those gadgets and all those attention-consuming devices actually pull you away from experiencing reality. In short, you miss it.

You have learned to leave the "tech" stuff behind, and devote your attention to the truth... and you are right about that. Especially as a tourist...why else are you there but to witness the reality in person? A shame to miss it.


There are more than a few leftovers from the dot com bubble of 1999/2000 that were on the cusp of local search via push technology. One of my clients was close, but funding was pulled in Nov 1999.

The only surprise here is that the original players dropped the ball and google picked it up.

Kind of like Xerox and that gui thing.

Thanks John

Sometimes I feel deficient because I don't have a cell jammed in my ear and a PDA streaming data at me when I eat lunch ;)

OT (maybe), but social implications may symie the tech, I shared my philosophy with a friend who took it to heart and he went on vacation with NO CELL PHONE.. EEKS, he told me later that his son remarked that it was the best vacation he ever had, when asked why, the son replied "you were here, not on your cell". Someone got a wake up call that day.

I've seen people eschew face to face contact to talk on the cell about their cell phone plan, thats what I call parasitic.

As it relates to local search? Is the high bidder really the best pizza place in the town or will a friendly face be a better source for that kind of info? When at Fishermans wharf I remember seeing Yoko Ono in an eatery and figured "if its good enough for her, its good enough for me", it was a dumpy place but the food was good, and kinda fun too.

Cell Phone

Hardball, I hear you as the asses walking around with those stupid blue tooth headphones on all the time should just be dragged in the alley and have the shit kicked out of them on principle alone.

However, I do tote my cell phone around all the time for MY personal safety, in the event I need 911, the car breaks down, or a family emergency pops up. People that just call my cell to BS when I'm out will roll straight to voice mail as I'm not a cell junky. Keep in mind I've have a cell since '90 as an early adopter when the phone were about $600 and calls were $90/minute so I'm kind of immune to the nonsense spectrum of using the thing.

But it's sure come in REAL handy a few times like when my car was hit and run and I was in live pursuit of the drunk that did it. It was pretty amazing when we turned the corner 3 miles down the road and the police had a road block in front of him and busted his ass. Another time I was on my way home and two cars collided right in front of me and the SUV rolled 4 times, almost nobody had cells then and we were first on the scene and got ambulances on the way.

And the most important use of all - making dinner reservations while en route to avoid standing in line an hour or so like all the other walk-in schmucks!

"being there" and local search

Another example is when you get a recommendation for a place only to find it's totally not what you expected (nor is what was described in the recommendation). You feel cheated and stupid at the same time...for trusting an unknown source. And yet how specific can AnyCity.tld be when making recommendations? Sure, the Hard Rock Cafe has the best burgers in town.

Unfortnately not everyone shares my taste for local color. Many, many users actually want to know where they can get "food that's just like back home". Others like me want to know where the chef-that's-good-enough-to-be-in-NY-if-he-wanted-to-be is cooking for the locals. Nobody wants to send an outsider to that definition it is a "local treasure".

Fortunately that what search enables... highly specific targeting. Too bad so few are doing it well.

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