Preparing for a day when there is meaningful usage of wireless devices as local search tools, Google has launched Google Local for phones. Maps are the centerpiece.
It currently works on "Java-enabled (J2ME) mobile phones, especially those purchased within the past year; this includes phones offered by Cingular, Sprint and T-Mobile. At this time, Local for mobile doesn't support BREW-enabled phones (e.g. Verizon, Alltel, U.S. Cellular), Nextel phones, Blackberry devices or Palm devices."
I haven't tried it myself, so I cannot comment on its usability.
While all the stakeholders are rolling out services now, it will be some time before we see mainstream usage of these mobile applications. There are many moving parts (so to speak) that have to line up — carriers, apps, devices, network speeds, pricing models — to drive widespread use. The day will come, but not in the immediate future. We've got a wireless report coming out this week, which makes the same point, albeit with more words and data.
Of course, for all the reasons one might imagine, mobile local search is a natural and will come to pass. It will just take a bit longer than everyone would like to get all the parts to work together and for the business model to emerge. In my view, the most effective and popular user experience will determine what the business model will be and whether it will be a viable medium for advertising.
Take Google Local on the go,
get listings, maps and aerial views.
Call directly from your search results
and even keep search history too.
Download from Google today.
Here's the Forrester review of Google Local for phones.