Google may have won the fixed line search sweepstakes, but mobile search remains an open territory, for anyone to conquer — countless start-ups, Yahoo, Nokia. Add AOL to the list, which is launching a revamped (beta) version of its mobile search service today.
Unlike its previous mobile search offering, AOL folks have worked out an interface that requires minimal triple-tap typing. Using keywords and tabs, it is easier for mobile surfers to find some of AOL services such as maps, movie information and local information.
AOL executives label this an “action oriented information access” approach, and have integrated Click2Call features into the new beta offering. This allows phone owner to tap (or highlight) on any phone number listed in the results and initiate a call. These features will drive additional revenues for AOL, and will also appease the carriers, as it can prompt more airtime usage.
AOL is also embedding ads using Third Screen Media (a company AOL acquired earlier this year) in the new offering that comes in two flavors – one for basic phones that come with WAP browsers, and one that is optimized for smart phones. For now Windows Mobile-based smart phones are the only phones supported, but support for other devices is on cards.
AOL’s new offering, at first blush seems simple and useful, though as is the case with most such offerings they have to pass the test of time.