Mobile Search Could Be Bigger Payoff Than Web

The New York Times, Friday, April 20, 2007 12 PM
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With some analysts predicting that the mobile-search market could grow to be even bigger than the desktop variety, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are spending tens of millions and using armies of programmers to develop tools that people on the move can actually use.

In recent months, the three search giants have introduced a new breed of search services that emphasize quick answers to urgent questions: Where is the best local pizzeria? What's the fastest way to get to the airport? The services are beginning to carry small ads related to searches, like those that have turned desktop Internet search into a gold mine.

But between the search giants and phone users stand some powerful gatekeepers -- cellphone carriers like Cingular, Sprint and Verizon. On the PC, Web surfers can easily go to the search engine of their choice, but carriers have the ability to dictate which search engine is easy to access and which is not through placement in their phones' menus.

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