Search engine giant Google Latest News about Google is taking its mobile device offering in a new direction with the launch of local services that deliver maps, directions and business listings to advancedmobile phones Latest News about mobile phones and other wireless Latest News about wireless handhelds.
The company has added a link to its site that enables those with XHTML-enabled mobile devices to enter a search term and a location to receive map results from Google Local.
The local services are initially available in the U.S. and Canada.
With Google SMS Latest News about SMS, users can send a search query as a text message to the U.S. five-digit code 46645 — which translates to “GOOGL” on most phones — and now receive driving directions in a text reply.
Callers already can initiate text-message queries and receive results, including phone-book listings, dictionary definitions and product prices that arrive as text lines on the device.
Location is critical for the evolution of search, especially on mobile devices. Yahoo Latest News about Yahoo offers a mobile-search service, based on text messaging, that enables users of the Yahoo Local search engine Latest News about search engine to send query results from a PC Latest News about PC directly to a cell phone Latest News about cell phones.
Through Yahoo Local, consumers now can receive a business name, phone number, address and cross-street on an SMS-enabled handheld. The new Send to Phone capability is an outgrowth of Yahoo’s Mobile Internet site launched late last year.
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The convenience of mobile devices makes them a target for search companies like Google and Yahoo, said IDC analyst Alex Slawsby.
“There has been a lot of talk about the omnipresence of these devices, and Google is seizing the opportunity to take its brand recognition and technology to a broader audience,” he said.
The number of mobile devices with XHTML capabilities remains small, Slawsby noted, but localized information offerings have the potential to draw a large audience.
The addition of maps and directions by Google is compelling for mobile users, and helps the company improve its image, said Yankee Group analyst Su Li Walker.
“They understand the importance of providing on-the-go access to their services, and they are tying up all of those services in a single package for mobile devices,” she said.
Search providers are now moving away from SMS-based text messaging and toward the HTML platform as a way to deliver Web-based services to increasingly smarter mobile devices, said Walker.