Yahoo Local Goes Mobile
Jan 28, 2005 2:12 PM PT
In the never-ending march of new search engine features, Yahoo Local this week added a "send to phone" option to its search results.
Now customers who have mobile phone service from Cingular/AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or Nextel will be able to send text messages with the address and phone number of, for instance, a restaurant directly from their PCs to their mobile phones using SMS messaging service.
Yahoo Won't Charge
Users of the service would have to pay any fees charged by their mobile service providers to receive the messages, but Yahoo will not charge to send the message.
The new service is unlikely to create a big stir, one analyst said. "I think most people will still prefer to make notes with pen and paper," John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates, told TechNewsWorld when asked if he imagined widespread use of the feature.
Stuck Behind the Computer
Users still have to be sitting in front of a PC or laptop in order to conduct the search.
Mobile phone users can already search for business listings, dictionary entries and product prices using their phones with Google SMS, launched in beta in October. Users send specific queries to Google and the results are sent via SMS to their phones.
At the same time, Yahoo launched Yahoo Search for Mobile for browser-enabled mobile devices, which allows users to conduct Yahoo Web searches from their phones.
Yahoo's new SMS service can make life a little easier, especially when communicating to a group.
"It offers a little added convenience. In most cases it just saves the 30 seconds it would take to print off the [search] listing or write it down on paper," Barrett said. "It offers greater value in coordinating a group. For example, you could text-message the lunch location to everyone in the office, class, club, etc."
Drawing in Users
Yahoo, Google and, increasingly, MSN, are embroiled in a battle for users. The services are designed to attract more unique views to their sites.
"Yahoo's strategy is to make itself a hub of online activity with spokes reaching out to many different devices. This is another feature along those lines," Barrett said.
The more unique users, the more eyes are likely to see the sponsored links companies sell on their search engines.