Mobile search was front and center at the ultimate Google insider event, Searchology. Citing statistics that show that searching from mobile devices - especially iPhones, Blackberry's and Android-based handsets - is growing at a much faster rate than search that originates from desktop or laptops, Google execs showcased product refinements that make for better coordination between fixed and mobile searching. Scott Huffman, Director of Engineering, delivered the ultimate prescription for higher quality mobile search, saying it should be "Complete, Easy and Local."
There were a number of other refinements to Google Search Options such as the organization of results into a timeline so that users can see each link's relationship to real time. In fact, the company noted that "real time search" ranks as the biggest challenge facing its engineers. From this, we can conclude that delivering results that take into account a mobile user's location is a relatively easy service to deliver. For example, the company demonstrated a service that is under development that will enable search results delivered to a desktop to be automatically displayed when the same user logs on to Google from a wireless phone equipped with a Web browser.
Closer coordination between PC and mobile search makes sense, especially for iPhone and Android users. This is the major finding of a study that Google commissioned from the Department of Statistics at Stanford University. The research, unsurprisingly, showed that searches orginating from "high-end phones", meaning those equipped with PC-like Web browsers strongly resembled those originating from PCs, in terms of the number of words per query, query diversity and user behavior. Based on these data, the researchers are concluding that high-end mobile phone users see their devices as viable means to find information.
Armed with these data, Google's researchers are building confidence that they can deliver ads that are more relevant to the mobile user.