What’s Next – Mobile Visual Search
What is the future of mobile internet usage?
March 17, 2008
The world of Mobile search is evolving extremely fast. Beginning
with keyword-based search, going through the next step - voice search, now the end
user is offered to send a photo by his cell phone in order to find relevant to
his photo’s query information in Internet.
Mobile Search is a developing branch that allows users to
find mobile content interactively on mobile websites. With the years, mobile
content has changed its media direction towards mobile multimedia. Nevertheless,
mobile search is not just a simple shift of PC web search to mobile equipment,
but it is connected to specialized segments of mobile broadband and mobile
content, both of which have been fast-paced evolving recently.
The major search engines are aggressively trying to create
applications and relationships in order to take advantage of a mobile ad
market. According to a leading market research firm eMarketer, strong competition
for the US mobile search market might be anticipated, having in mind the large
US online ad market and strong pushes by portals. By 2011, mobile search is
expected to account for around $715 million.
The Mobile directory search industry is almost as old as the
telecom and offers services that enable people by entering a word or phrase on
their phone to find local services based on their current location. An example
of usage would be a person looking for a local hotel after a tiring journey or
taxi company after a night out. The services can also come with a map and
directions to facilitate the user.
What was the next step? GOOG-411. This is another but this
time voice-activated mobile search. The free service allows callers to access
Google’s local information through voice search. There is no doubt, that mobile
voice search is simpler and more convenient for the callers than typing on the
“I’d have to be a
visionary to be vindicated, and I’m making no such claim. It’s just hard to
ignore that most people prefer talking in their phones to typing on them, and a
mobile search engine that made voice search possible might have an easier time
finding an audience”, said Bryson Meunier, Product Champion, Natural Search in
a posting at www.findresolution.com.
For the same reasons Meunier believes that mobile visual search could be bigger
than voice search.
How do the searchers initiate a visual query? Simply by
snapping a photo of something with their phone, which the mobile search engine
processes with algorithms and returns relevant digital content based on its
interpretation of the user’s visual query.
Visual Search is now gathering popularity. At the Cebit
trade show in Germany, Vodafone demonstrated Otello, a search engine that uses
images as input. Users send pictures via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)
from their mobile phones. Otello then returns information relevant to the picture
to the mobile phone, just like a normal search engine. There are other examples
of companies like SnapNow and Mobot that have actually been offering this
service for a few years. Google has its own Mobile Visual Search engines in the
face of Never Vision.
Of course, the audience for mobile visual search is
currently not so large, but it might be just a matter of time, predicted
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