Mobile directory search takes hold

Mike Jude/Frost & Sullivan
05 Aug 2009

Wireless devices are beginning to morph into all-purpose information utilities that consumers increasingly think of as a way to access immediately useful information. People on the go are now using their cellphones as surrogates for printed directories.

As the figure below shows, mobile search capabilities depend on and interlink with existing search capabilities, accessing listings produced by the print directory industry, and integrating operator assistance and internet search. Within this integrated directory environment, no element can stand on its own, but in combination can extend information access even to mobile devices.

Projected growth
Mobile search is becoming more popular as intelligent mobile devices and data services become more widespread. Measured by the amount of paid advertising revenue these services generate, this is a growing market.

As a Frost & Sullivan study on the evolving mobile directory/search market shows, US revenue for mobile search is estimated to increase from $200 million this year to between $1 billion and $1.3 billion by 2013 (see figure below). Because pervasive directory services are synergistic, the mobile search function is actually leveraging much higher revenues for other components in the directory space.

The value of this growing source of revenue isn't lost on information service providers. Not only has the race for internet browser dominance heated up, with the partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo an example of the maneuvering taking place, but search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Google all have search applets optimized for mobile devices.

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