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Half of mobile search queries have local intent: Bing exec

ORLANDO, FL - A Bing executive at CTIA Wireless 2011 revealed that 50 percent of search queries on mobile have a local intent with users searching for restaurants, movies and other forms of entertainment closest to them.

During the ?Mobile Search ? Finding the Right Answer? session, panelists discussed mobile search and how it has been talked about for years. However, in the era of smartphones, app stores and rich-media browsers, it?s a whole new game.

?The way that we think about search is that historically, it?s all about the Web,? said Andy Chu, director of product management for Bing at Microsoft, Seattle. ?Where search is going in general, in mobile, is how we can help consumers complete tasks.

?That?s the whole motion,? he said. ?Search on mobile goes beyond the topical Web and links.?

The panel was moderated by Derek Kerton, principal analyst at The Kerton Group, San Francisco.

Mobile search
Universal search is being featured front and center because with so much content available, a single search needs to bring back the consumer?s contact information, media and information from the Web.

Additionally, advertising and commerce are blending well on mobile devices and are driven by the fact that most users are searching on mobile devices to do something or to buy something, per the panelists.

?We?re going to see much more deeper integration with search,? Mr. Chu said. ?Search is all about speed.

"Also, besides the voice features, you can use the camera function to search,? he said.

According to Mr. Chu, many Bing users are searching for places near their current location, as well as for entertainment such as movie tickets.

The company noticed a spike that begins on Wednesday ? for restaurants, entertainment and bars ? and goes into Saturday.

?When Wednesday comes, around noon, that?s when activities start happening,? Mr. Chu said.

All about privacy
According to Anil Panguluri, director of mobile search at Yahoo, San Francisco, there is a desire for privacy.

Additionally, there is a huge difference in terms of how people perceive privacy when categorizing by country.

?It depends on whether the technology in place can capture the signals,? Mr. Panguluri said. ?It?s about how we detect the signals.

?There?s a lot of unknowns with privacy and with detecting users and using all the information that we can gather,? he said.

Mr. Panguluri said that the one-search concept is important.

?The concept was formed with the difference of using a feature phone back in the day when the Motorola RAZR was the coolest phone on the market,? Mr. Panguluri said. ?There was no way to display sites the way that they should look.

?We thought why not show those results in a nice way,? he said. ?That?s how we built the one-search product.

?It was successful and it gave answers and not links. It?s still very applicable today.?

Easy search
Consumers still prefer to have quick answers.

One-search features provide high-quality, short, concise content, per Mr. Panguluri.

In addition, Mr. Panguluri said that there are obvious differences between Web and mobile searches. 

Being able to identify users on the Internet is difficult because they are not logging into search.

?They just go in and search, so you don?t know who the user is,? Mr. Panguluri said. ?You just see what they?re browsing and their cookies.

?On mobile, users are constantly logging in whether it?s Facebook or Twitter,? he said. ?On mobile you have a chance to have a deeper experience and that involves a lot of social features.

Daren Gill, vice president and general manager of vTap at Veveo, Boston, said that there should be a universal search.

?I think that there shouldn?t be a bright line on the phone between what?s on the Web and what?s on the phone,? Mr. Gill said. ?We measure our success as to how little time is spent.

?We think that we should be helping users do more and browse less,? he said.