I continue to think about the challenges of mobile-local search, where there is arguably a more compelling consumer use case than on the Internet — user needs are generally more immediate. Microsofts Search GM Erik Jorgensen publicly stated that he believed the majority of local searches will eventually be conducted on mobile devices. In concept it’s not hard to agree. But the question is one of timing and technology. The form factor (hardware), the business model and network speeds will all need to come together to drive consumer adoption. Once the use cases are established then we can think about how to monetize them with advertising.
Bill Slawski previously covered GeoVector’s recent patent for “pointing based” local search on mobile devices here. GeoVector’s technology is already on display in Japan and the use case it offers could be something of a breakthrough for mobile-local search and location-based services.
Here?s how it works according to the company:
?Users can point their phones at retailers, restaurants, billboards, banks or historical sites to instantly retrieve information on what they are looking at, or find what they are looking for. Utilizing GPS technology and a digital compass built into wireless phones, GeoVector allows users to ?Click on the Real World? similar to how computer users point and click with a mouse to access information, conduct transactions or play games.?
The problem with mobile-local search is that waiting for mobile users to adopt smartphones will delay the mainstream development of the market for location-based services for 10 years (it may take that long anyway to mature). But GeoVector?s technology and approach is interesting because it doesn?t rely heavily on screen size or keyboard entry. And it?s not the mobile Internet per se. It?s about coding the real world; the use case is pretty simple and conceptually compelling.
I haven?t used it so I don?t know how well it works in practice, though it should be deployed in Europe soon. Mobot and NeoMedia are also in this space (let the patent disputes begin). But these companies’ technologies all create connections between the digital and the real world in ways that are more immediate and more trackable than the Internet today.
The ?mobile Internet? and location-based services may develop in ways that are completely different than the Internet itself, which would make sense given the limitations of the devices and the use cases. Accordingly, monetization scenarios would follow usage and consumer adoption. And these technologies start to point to the ways that all could happen.