Attack of the Mobile Search Apps
I only have time for a quick post, but it strikes me how so many local search plays are launching SMS-based search services.
As noted earlier, NearbyNow has this; vFlyer launched a mobile search product today; Vehix.com plans to do this; and earlier in the week I spoke with BooRah about its new SMS-based local search product.
These join the longstanding Google SMS and Yahoo! Mobile, as well as more recent SMS local search products from Tellme and Yellowpages.com. SMS-based local search is becoming more and more attractive, given that texting is the most prevalent form of mobile search, and is the most used mobile device feature, besides talking (further analyzed in this post).
But there seems to be a trend toward verticalization, given the above products (restaurants, shopping, classifieds, autos, etc.). In some cases, it is even more specific and drills down to an individual brand such as Starbucks (there are few brands that will be able to pull this off, if any).
It will be interesting to see, among all the other questions swirling around the mobile local search space (and mobile in general), whether general search or vertical search will win out. The same question has loomed over the online local search space for some time, and in the same way we’re seeing a trend toward verticalization, given its many advantages (explored here). More on this later.