Friday, February 24, 2006

Google expands its horizons with Vodafone

Brand Republic takes a look at Google's global mobile search deal with Vodafone. While met with some skepticism in some circles, Vodafone insists that "the service will become a must-have search tool for the rising number of consumers who want help finding mobile content."

According to JupiterResearch, "Western Europe's mobile-content market, which includes games, music, data and information, is certainly growing prodigiously; its value is predicted to treble from EUR3.3bn (£2.3bn) this year to EUR9.1bn (£6.2bn) by 2010."

Google, which is already the default search provider for T-Mobile, now adds "the world's biggest mobile phone network" to its mobile stable. The Google service will be accessible to all Vodafone Live! customers and according to the article it "will not be the default homepage on customers' handsets, but will be the mobile operator's only search option, accessed via a magnifying-glass icon."

Thomas Husson at JupiterResearch said, "The biggest opportunity for a search engine moving into mobile is that it enables it to target (users of) mass-market WAP portals and deliver relevant and available content to consumers from them."

Regarding the potential market for mobile advertising, "Jupiter estimates that the market for the whole of Western Europe is worth only EUR110m (£75m)." Jupiter predicts it will "grow to EUR688m (£471m) by 2010, fuelled by the introduction of smarter devices."

Husson said, "The market is growing steadily, although advertising revenues are very low on mobile. But there is an opportunity for new advertising models, once GPS services become more widely available; at present they are restricted to a few handsets."