A few days ago, Jupiter research had predicted that mobile search ad revenues would touch $5 billion over the next 5 years. Microsoft and AOL are both taking this statement very seriously. They are working very hard to improve their mobile offerings in an effort to make up for the loss of market share in desktop search.
Microsoft are adding new features to their Windows Mobile and BlackBerry services, such as improved mapping and a voice interface for the Blackberry. InformationWeek reports that these new services will allow clients to speak into their Blackberry handsets, instead of having to enter queries through the number pads, which can be quite a tedious process.
Users will now be able to find directions to restaurants, theatres, offices and other places of interest by simply speaking the name of the place they want into their mobile devices. It is also expected that customers will shortly be able to map a contacts address, and view custom maps on Virtual Earth on their mobiles.
Bill Gates has long been in favor of technologies such as voice, touch and pen-based computing, but there were several obstacles to this in the past. Voice recognition technology has made a lot of progress in the last year and has been available on Microsoft Live Search Mobile for Windows Mobile devices since October of last year. The support for additional devices will make this service especially useful in cars as the driver will no longer have to look away from the road.
AOL has also launched a new mobile service. The Market Intelligence Service reports that the beta version of AOL MyMobile will allow BlackBerry users to access personalised AOL services through mobile phones. They have also started an AIM TXT short-code service for all major carriers in the U.S.
Windows mobile users will now be able to receive personalised services by downloading AOL MyMobile. This platform will provide integrated relevant Web and mobile search results. AOL MyMobile has drop-down lists and menus, which are easy to access. It will also remember user favorites and recent requests.
Users will be able to save directions to various places and even access them off-line or outside their network range. News of these innovations has raised the share price of AOL’s parent company Time Warner Inc, which has been rumoured to be on the lookout for a buyer for the former Internet giant.