Yahoo!, Google Bet Big on Mobile

Two of the biggest publishers in interactive advertising — Google and Yahoo — today announced initiatives that will push their content, but not yet advertising, more aggressively into the mobile arena.

Yahoo has unveiled a new application called Yahoo Go Mobile, along with two other Yahoo Go services aimed at the TV and the PC desktop. The Mobile application, which works on certain Nokia phones, brings Yahoo Messenger, Mail, Search, Photos, Address Book and content offerings to mobile devices. Previously, users could access Yahoo Mobile through a WAP (define) browser, but there was no program installed on the phone itself. Local installation, Yahoo says, will allow it to synch its offerings with the mobile device’s built-in email, messaging, address book and calendar applications.

Yahoo has teamed with AT&T and Cingular in the U.S., and Nokia and Motorola internationally, to try to get the application wide distribution. Consumers with supported phones can also download it from go.yahoo.com.

“Yahoo Go allows us to free the best of what the Internet has to offer from the confines of the browser and provides consumers fast and easy access to the essential products and services they know and love,” said Terry Semel, chairman and CEO, Yahoo, in a statement. Semel announced the Yahoo Go initiative at the CES consumer electronics event going on in Las Vegas.

So far there is no advertising on the mobile applications, which are free to the consumer, but Yahoo has not ruled out the possibility. Most of Yahoo’s Internet-based applications are advertising-supported.

Google, too, is looking to extend its Internet applications into the mobile space. The company has mobile search, local search and mapping offerings already, and a new deal with Motorola aims to increase user adoption and awareness.

Under the terms of the agreement, certain Motorola devices will ship with a Google icon pre-installed, so users can click to immediately access Google from their handsets. These devices will be available later in the first quarter of 2006.

Google hasn’t yet distributed its AdWords ads on its mobile search pages, which are accessible via a WAP browser. Like Yahoo, its main source of revenues on the Internet is advertising.

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