Yahoo today made its OneSearch mobile search product available to all WAP-enabled devices, broadening the reach of the service to more mobile Web users. OneSearch, a mobile-specific interface and algorithm, was launched in January with the Yahoo Go for Mobile application. That meant that users had to actively download it, unless they bought one of the few but growing number of devices that come with Go pre-loaded.
By making OneSearch available via its Yahoo Mobile site, Yahoo is making a statement of its intentions on the mobile space, Lee Ott, director of mobile Web at Yahoo, told SEW.
"With OneSearch for Yahoo Go or mobile Web, both underscore our focus," Ott said. "We intend to be number one in mobile search, and in mobile search monetization."
Web search providers have often been criticized for trying to "cram a Web search experience into a mobile device," Ott said, but OneSearch is a departure from that tactic. While it uses much of Yahoo's underlying Web search technology, it also applies mobile-specific algorithms to create an experience tailored to mobile devices.
For example, mobile searchers are presented with options they are most likely to use, such as returning a phone number, directions, or ratings of a local business high in the results. And the differences between Web and mobile search are expected to become even more pronounced as Yahoo continues to analyze mobile user behavior, Ott said.
Yahoo is building mobile ads from the ground up as well, Ott said. Yahoo introduced a beta test of mobile search ads in October, one month after Google began trialing mobile ads in the U.S. and Europe. It introduced the Go client for mobile devices in January 2006. Last month, Yahoo began offering mobile display ads in 19 countries.