Google Mobile Search Developments

  |  October 11, 2010   |  Comments

As more people become comfortable with searching the Web from mobile devices, marketers must adapt their strategies. Consider these developments.

If you don't have a mobile optimized site, or a mobile search campaign, or really anything mobile in your marketing mix, you are officially late to the party.

Mobile Web Usage Is Exploding

A recent Internet Trends presentation by Morgan Stanley forecasted that "50% of web traffic will come through mobile devices within 5 years." In fact, based on the rate of adoption, it is projected that the number of users accessing the Web via mobile devices will exceed desktop devices by 2014. A column I wrote at the end of last year cited 2009 as the year mobile search took off. And, I think my concluding statement in that column appears to be proving true: "And if 2009 was the year that mobile took off, look for 2010 and beyond to be the years that mobile search reaches its pinnacle." All of the research and data points surrounding mobile Web adoption rates seem to signal that not only will mobile search be exploding, so too will all forms of mobile Web activities.

Google Is a Huge Proponent for Mobile

Mobile is a huge area of focus and innovation for Google at the moment and they are clearly advocating for marketers to make mobile an important consideration both now and for the future.

I was at a conference last week hosted by Google and one theme that was woven consistently throughout was the importance of mobile. For innovation in the online space, Google is the company I often look to first. So, if Google has identified an area as "hot," then I very well should be thinking about it too. Needless to say, its strong emphasis on mobile helped solidify a fact that I already knew – mobile is the digital channel to watch.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the conference as it relates to mobile:

  • Everything you do online, you should do in mobile
  • Create a mobile site version/optimize your site for mobile
  • Search is still the "Web's killer app" (and will continue to be a killer app on mobile)
  • Have a mobile search campaign and customize your messaging to the mobile audience
  • Develop mobile "use cases" - what are the key problems/needs and what kind of mobile app/service/content is a solution for that problem?
  • Optimize for each screen (various mobile devices/plaftorms, iPads, etc.)

Google Search Innovations Focus on Mobile

At the conference, Google also spoke briefly about the evolution of search and many of its new search innovations. Not surprisingly, many of its more recent innovations are for mobile search products.

I wanted to cover a couple of these mobile search innovations that I think marketers should know about – if they don't already.

Voice Search

If you own an Android phone, you are already familiar with this feature. But for those who don't, essentially this function enables you to search via a vocal query versus a text query. Meaning, you speak into the phone, and Google queries its index based on what you say (versus what you type). This increases users' ability to search "on the go" and get results more quickly than typing. As fast as you can think it, you can see it.

Google Goggles

Over a year ago, I examined developments with "visual search" – the ability to search by using a picture as a query versus a text query. At that time, more niche companies were dominating the space but it was only a matter of time for Google to come out with an offering. Google Goggles lets you take a picture of an image with your phone, and then search based on that image. From landmarks to businesses to book titles, if you see something you like and want more info, you can now snap a photo and access relevant search results instantly.

All of these innovations will help propel mobile search forward by making it easier, quicker, and more relevant. And as more and more users become more comfortable with searching the Web from their mobile devices, marketers will be increasingly left behind if they don't have a well thought-out mobile presence. So if you aren't considering mobile as part of your search marketing plans, get going already!


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Julie Batten

Julie is a member of the senior strategy team at Klick Health, focused on online media and digital. Julie initially established and led the media practice at Klick for several years, relinquishing leadership to expand beyond media into additional digital tactics. She brings a wealth of experience in search marketing, digital media, and all facets of digital strategy to bear, helping Klick's clients develop innovative digital solutions. As her role has evolved, so have her contributions to ClickZ, which she has been writing for since 2007.

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