Searching Google’s Mobile Web

As I’ve been traveling more lately, I’ve been making greater use of wireless search tools. Google’s Mobile Web search (currently in beta) is a welcome departure from other mobile search tools.

Instead of searching all of the Web, Mobile Web only searches sites optimized for wireless devices.

This fits perfectly with my needs when I’m on my cell phone. I’m more likely to be looking for movie showtimes, flight status, stock quotes and other discrete chunks of information. I’m certainly not looking to read long news stories or navigating through Web sites with giant images.

You can test the site on a Web browser at http://www.google.com/xhtml. An FAQ is also also available.

The mobile site includes some of Google’s onebox shortcuts:

  • A ticker symbol and you’ll get stock information above the results
  • “Movie showtimes 90210” will get you a list of movies playing in the area
  • “Washington nationals” will show status of games in action
  • “Pizza 90210″will show pizza places in the area
  • “clerks ii” provides running time, rating, genre and review stars, with a box to enter a ZIP code for showtimes

The mobile site is also incorporating mobile-specific ads:

  • “united” triggered an ad for ua2go.com, United Airlines’ mobile site.
  • “delta”, “us airways” and “new york hotels” triggered an ad for Expedia, with a link to a phone number. The phone number (800-390-8994), doesn’t match any search results, so this could be a test of pay per call advertising.
  • “dl” and “screensavers” triggered an ad for EA Mobile Games.
  • “ringtones” triggered an ad for Jamster.com

(These ads did not appear when I accessed the above URL from a Web browser.)

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About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is CEO of redesign | mobile. Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. His personal blog is at http://blog.agrawals.org and tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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