Google announced earlier this week that it will infuse live traffic data in its mapping application that can be accessed from Web-enabled mobile devices. Live traffic data is available on Yahoo! Local and in the newest release of Windows Live Local, but neither company has ported the functionality to mobile mapping products. We expect that they will soon, given that mapping has thus far been a highly competitive area for which rapid feature development has been characteristic.
This will follow into the mobile content world, where significant growth opportunities exist for mobile local search applications by portals and smaller third-party application developers, such as InfoSpace. This San Jose Mercury News piece explores how portals are increasingly creating programs specifically designed for mobile devices and are putting more resources into developing mobile Web applications. Yahoo! in fact announced last week that it has reached an agreement with Motorola to have the Yahoo! Go personal content platform preloaded on tens of millions of mobile devices. When it comes to carriers however, smaller application providers are preferred over portals, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out today (via Greg Sterling).
It’s clear that mobile content delivery represents a large opportunity in both mapping and search as well as entertainment, news and sports content. IDC expects as much, as does Microsoft. As Matt Booth reported in the previous post, Microsoft will launch a mobile entertainment device that unlike the iPod will have more functionality for accessing and downloading content.
Mobile content delivery, mobile search and their monetization strategies (paid content, subscription pricing or targeted mobile marketing) will all be dynamic areas to watch in the coming months and will continue to involve a great deal of experimentation in the marketplace to discern user preferences and to establish positioning in what will likely be a large market for local search.