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Old 04-29-2005   #1
xan
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The future of search: mobile phones

The future of search is very much set to be in mobile phones. The research world and industry seem to agree on this point.

Mobile phones incorporate MP3's, cdigital camera's, internet access (although we know that WAP is terrible - but this definately set to improve.) and will continue to deliver new features to us. In fact, they will become the primary vehicle for search.

This is why summarization technology has become so important, and why question answering has recieved a lot of attention recently.

Saeid Asadi and Hamid R. Jamali M. wrote:

"Using Web page structure, shared search engines, expert recommendations and different mobile search facilities seem to be features of the next generation of search engines."

"In the future everyone will have access to the Web information and services through his/her wireless phone without necessarily having a computer."

Shifts in search engine development

Chris Palau explains that "Your ideas, products and services must be piercingly targeted for your customer or your message will never be heard."

How does this change things for online marketing, and how does it affect online content?

Its clear that a number of factors will have to be reconsidered for this development. Any thoughts?

A New Mobile Phone Search Service

Nokia Research Center
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Old 05-03-2005   #2
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I tend to believe mobile phones will incorporate bigger screens to allow browsing the web just as we do today. No need to summerize anything, no need for special formats. It's browsing at ease.

http://www.polymervision.com/Product...ion/Index.html

Quote:
The ‘bigger picture’ for business applications

Cellphones are an indispensable tool for business people on the move, and the emergence of broadband services makes them even more valuable. However, small, light phones have a crucial limitation – the size of the screen. Mobile displays simply aren’t practical for many of the business-oriented applications enabled by broadband networks.

Contrast this with the convenience of a feather-light screen that unrolls from the phone or a tiny case to provide a larger, paper-like display that allows users to read content with ease. This is the power of rollable display technology. It completely transforms the experience of viewing content, so the phone becomes an even more versatile business tool. This in turn will drive consumer demand for ‘anytime, anywhere’ data-oriented broadband services, increasing operator revenues and opening the way to new application areas.
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Old 05-04-2005   #3
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You are right,

these solutions can be a great help for mobile devices, however they also have their drawbacks. Developments such as OLED (Motorola V600) will not be able to be used on a roll up screen which might not necessarily produce a very good quality picture. PDA's have a larger screen which can also use things like OLED, but these are still not very big.

Due to the rise of the use of mobile phones for moving images and so on, a roll up screen cannot provide the quality needed for todays applications. MobileTV is starting up.

Processors are on the up with a rise from 200 MHz to as far as 500 MHz. The TI OMAP phone chipset will allow you to view things on your mobile phone screen or on your TV. Nokia music are working on hard drives, Nokia, LG, and Samsung have all made prototypes of digital–TV phones using various digital-TV standards and the screens are bigger (Nokia's 7710).

The roll up screen isn't a solution with today's needs and applications taken into consideration. The proposed screens are still not bigger than PDA screens at the most. There are plenty of quality ways to deal with that. Users don't want to carry a brick around.

Last edited by xan : 05-04-2005 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 05-04-2005   #4
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I agree with everything you said Xan however, I thought we're talking about the *future* of search on mobile phones? I guess it all depands how FAR we are looking into the future. From what you said it seems like you are looking at 1-2 years and I'm looking a little further, maybe 6-10 years.
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Old 05-04-2005   #5
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Well the future is relative isn't it

I see what you're saying. Do you think that rollout screens withh be good enough in resolution and in quality of image to succeed?
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Old 05-04-2005   #6
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I have no doubt about it.
The future of mobile phones imo is in matching the user experience we have on the computers today. Keyboards just as big as today's by using projection technology and screens such as roll out will move us towards that vision. Thinking of bigger screens, why roll out when we can use projection technology and a white background?
Not sure how it will all played out but one thing for sure, the small (soon to be called "Prehistoric" ) screens we have today will not stay for long and if that's the case, then content should not be sumemrized or written in different formats to match them.
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Old 05-04-2005   #7
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well wether or not screens change, the methods we use to access data will change, is changing. There is a lot of noise around summarization and question answering systems.

I'm not sure projection would take off because of privacy.
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Old 05-04-2005   #8
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Just looking forward.. glasses that are optimized to the screen. If you wear them you see the screen and if you don't.. you don't.
The other thing is screens who can fit many users. If I wear one pairof glasses I may see one movie and when you wear another pair you see a different one.
In any event, my belief is we will be moving towards the same user experience as we have today on computers with mobile phones. That's my long term vision.

Last edited by shepherd : 05-04-2005 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 05-04-2005   #9
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This trend already started.. http://www.fabrickeyboard.com/
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Old 05-04-2005   #10
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It's interesting I hadn't seen that before. Do you think it would take off? I think people might be used to keypads by now, perhaps as phones get more powerful people will be doing more on them, and then it would make sense.
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Old 05-04-2005   #11
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Don't think this specific one would take off but.. I believe when mobile phone companies start to integrate their own accessories it will take off.
Let me ask you a question then.. where do you see mobile search ten years from now, and twenty years from now?
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Old 05-04-2005   #12
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Thought it might be of your interest that Gary Price blogged today about NY Times Talks Mobile Search.

Cheers!
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Old 05-05-2005   #13
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Many thanks Nacho! That was a great article, it shows stuff going on now as well, and points to some direction for the future.

What do I think?

Well I blogged about it at search-science but in a few words:

I see it descending on us relatively quickly. Phones are getting smarter,faster,easier and better at an alarming speed. It all looks like the advent of the laptop really. Bounderies being pushed all the time, and the minute you buy a top notch phone, it's out of date the minute you leave the shop, just like laptops.

People are using them for more and more different things, even things that don't work too well (like games) they have readily accepted and integrated into their lives. People use their phones to participate in a televised quiz game or enter a draw by phone when they are always provided the URL to go to. Now you can get novels delivered to your phone (yes I know, how impractical), music, adverts, horoscopes, news updates, photos,...People are using them for all these things (although I admit that I don't).

They are used to the existing technology (apart from some people complaining) and they have become experts if you can call it that. Any extension to how they use their phone will be sucked up and used.

If we continue to offerer bigger and better and smarter things, people will easily adapt to whatever we provide, like voice activated commands and internet querying through spoken natural language (its a phone afterall!) and I think that in light of all of the search engines working towards mobile search, and phone providers like motorola and nokia working towards this as well, we might find collaborations between them. I see the QA system as being important, as people don't use their phones like a computer, they use them quickly to get something, not to browse around like we do from computers. Because of this, I see that asking a question and getting an instant answer off the web works great, and of course you can expand or refine the query just by chatting:

I need travel insurance. Get me the cheapest.
Your cheapest providers in the UK are x, y, z which all offer a similar cover.
What are the differences?
well x has this that y and z don't and z offers this that both the others don't.
So what do they cover me for?
They cover you for travel in europe.
Ah right, no, I want worldwide cover.
Then in this case these providers are best: f,h,j.
...etc....
Actually, I'm best being covered for everything and paying a bit more. I still don't want the most expensive though.
Sure, then consider L, K, J
....etc.....
Cool, I'll take that.
Shall I send your details and proceed with payment?
Please.
Can you confirm by texting xxxxxxxxxx to the provider.
sure......
transaction complete - you are now covered for worldwide travel with L provider.
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Old 05-24-2005   #14
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Mobile Redefines Search

I couldn't agree more, mobile is very much the future of search - the new horizon that is just starting to be tapped. There are far more mobile handsets in the world than computers and more time spent with a mobile phone at your side than sitting next to a PC. Mobile is no longer just the networked communication medium for voice, its quickly becoming the preferred networked communication medium for data. This is especially true in underdeveloped countries such as India and China where most people don't own a computer but do have a mobile handset. This shift in mobile utility is shifting the very foundation of search.

As many of you have discussed, mobile search differs greatly from web search due to the limitations of the medium. Its difficult and time consuming to type long search queries on a mobile device, the display is very restrictive, and data transfer rates are still very slow. Mobile searchers of today aren't interested in viewing large web pages or entering lengthy urls, they want pinpoint answers to short and simple information requests with limited data transfer requirements. They want to know where the nearest coffee shop is, the score of last nights Knicks game, or the current price of Yahoo's stock without the hassle of visiting a slow web page or searching a huge document domain. Traditional search on the web responds to queries with links to information sources, not the information itself. This model does not work within the restrictive mobile domain - mobile searchers want information, not recommendations where they can find the information or they're not going to put in the effort to use the service. It is in this light mobile search is changing the search landscape, and changing it for the better. Mobile search, because of its limitations, is actually redefining and improving search in a manner that web based search never sought to achieve.

Within the last 6 months there has been a huge surge in new mobile search services, including offerings from a host of new upstarts (4Info, UpSnap, Synfonic, etc) and the major players (Google, Yahoo, etc). These companies are introducing new features of search that we have never before see - information instead of links to information.

Take the new service 4Info for example (I'm choosing this service for its breadth of search features and, from what I've found, superior search quality over all others. I leave you to make your own decision, although this is also the only service you can ****://***.4info.net try out on the web so you will be forced to use your restrictive mobile device to test others). 4Info's current SMS search offering has an extensive collection of information domains to search against, everything from 411 style local directory listings to real time sports scores, stock data, flight times, weather, etc. If you type in a query such as "Score New York Knicks", "Knicks", or "what is the knicks score", they return not a collection of links to New York Knicks information sources, but the information itself, the actual score of the game. The restrictive nature of mobile devices has forced them to provide what you really want when you search, an answer to your query.

The job of search engines/utilities within the web domain has always been that of information mapper, indexing the collection of available information/content sources and providing links to those sources when one queries. With the new addition of mobile search, search services are now forced to be information providers. Now, they must actually answer your query, not just respond to it. Let me be the first to say, “Finally!!!”

Last edited by orion : 05-26-2005 at 03:04 PM. Reason: Add Links; (1) Removing duplicated link.
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Old 05-26-2005   #15
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Hi Mstack,

your post was spot on and made some excellent points.

I couldn't agree more with you - some welcome changes are now being forced into the search world
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