Microsoft hopes to establish itself as a leading provider of mobile search services, with the introduction of new technologies that are now being tested, a company executive said Monday.
Mobile search is important because in many markets, including some Asian countries, more people access the Internet from mobile phones than from PCs, said Suzan DelBene, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded Devices Division. For users like these, being able to combine search results with services that can sense a user’s location is critical, she said.
“Those things are huge opportunities,” DelBene said, noting that Microsoft has begun tests of mobile search technology.
Called Windows Live Mobile Search, the technology is being tested in the United States and the United Kingdom. It allows users to search for local listings, such as shops and restaurants, and provides them with maps and driving directions. Users can also call any of the returned listings from their handset with a single click of a button.
Windows Live Mobile Search also gives users access to search results from the Web, including blogs.
Microsoft isn’t the only company looking to stake out its turf in mobile search. For example, Google and China’s Baidu.com have signed mobile search agreements with handset makers Motorola and Nokia, respectively. One potential advantage for Microsoft is the growing popularity of phones that run Windows Mobile software.
In 2003, Microsoft had just one device maker and one operator signed up to support Windows Mobile for phones. Over the past three years, that has expanded to 47 hardware makers and more than 100 operators, helping to make Windows Mobile the fastest-growing division inside Microsoft, DelBene said.
-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service
For related news coverage, read Microsoft Preps Search Services to Rival Google.
This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.
Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.