Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is search going to be the core function for monetization of the mobile phone

Well i find that hard to believe. Just think of the number of times that people use the mobile device to search in their daily phone use. I have one simple question. How many times do you pick up your cellphone to look for your next meal?

"Oh I am hungry, I need my phone to tell me where the nearest pizza store that offers the most competetive price/slice is." Or for that matter how many times do you use search for the most mundane things in your daily life. I will let you answer that question yourself.

Lets talk about this. People use mobile phones when they are up and about. Lets just assume that it means that about 12 hours of the day are available to look at the mobile device. That does not automatically translate to constantly staring at the mobile phone. Most people lead predictable lives, and go about their lives in a robotic fashion. They wake up, shower, get dressed, have breakfast at their favorite place (either home or the bagel store down the street), get to work, work, go to their favorite hangout after work (gym, bar or whatever), eat dinner and get back to bed. This leads me to believe that the total "search" time when most people need "search' as a way to lead them to the next step of their daily activity is all but a sliver of their total daily time.

I would argue that if you are mobile and are constantly in need of a search mechanism to lead you to the next step, then you are either constantly lost or are traveling in a new place. The former leads me to believe that you need more help than just a cellphone. If its the latter, there exists the possibility that you would "ask" someone where to eat or what place to visit. This would most likely be a colleague, a friend at the office in the new city you are visiting or someone with local tacit knowledge.

I know we need more discussion on this point, but I question if "search" is going to be the core function for monetization of the mobile phone. I think not.

Watch Rich Miner of Google on his monetization scheme, from his World Mobile Congress interview on youtube at

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