Orange UK has strengthened its existing ties with m-spatial, a provider of local mobile search solutions, launching a series of trials using m-spatial?s new Java local search application. The trials will compare user reaction to the experiences delivered by the Orange Local service, which is browser-based, and the new Java service, which is a thin client downloadable onto the mobile from the Orange World portal.
Local mobile search is a ?strategic priority for the business,? Steve Ricketts, Orange UK, said in a statement. Through these trials the operator expects to ?generate a wealth of usage and behavioural information which will be used to ensure we continue to deliver the most compelling and intuitive service to our customers.? (The press release hasn?t been posted yet.)
m-Spatial?s Java client went live in December and Orange kicked off the trials around the same time, so it?s not clear why we have a press release this week. It nonetheless dovetails well with the local mobile search announcements that made headlines in the last week.
For example, U.K. directory publisher and local search provider Yell (parent of U.S. yellow pages publisher) launched a local search service chock-full of features sure to give Google a run for its money. The application provides full access to Yell?s listings. It also keeps track of users? regular queries and requests, providing an auto-suggest function to take some of the pain out of search for information on mobile. What?s more it provides zoomable maps, and lets users save info to their contacts, or send it to friends via SMS.
Finally, Yell lets users click to call businesses, a lucrative search monetization scheme that execs tell me can bring in CPC rates of between US$3.90 and US$137.00 - a price driven by the potential value of a successful sale. Press release
On the heels of the Yell announcement, mobilePeople - the Danish mobile saerch company that designed Yell?s app - released Mobile Search Trends 2006. The study speaks volumes about users? mobile search habits. A surprise: 6 percent of all mobile searches were for jobs and recruitment consultants just before Christmas 2006. According to mobilePeople?s data the overall number of mobile searches conducted during 2006 grew ten fold on the previous year. (The study tracks trends in Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden)
The top mobile search categories (in order of popularity) before and during the same period were:
5. Consumer electronics
Among the top 20 searches were banks and financial institutions, hotels, garage services, car parts, hairdressers, medical services, shoe retailers, cinemas, furniture outlets, toy retailers, department stores, pubs and coffee shops. The top 20 searches generated 80 percent of the entire search volume.