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The Mobile Search in Our Future

As a frequent conference speaker, the same questions from the audience tend to come up repeatedly—one of them is, “What are the future trends in search marketing?” One of the trends that I like to mention is how much more ubiquitous search will become in the next few years. We only think that we search a lot now. What will it be like when we use mobile devices that are always connected to the network?

As important as search marketing is to your business today, it will be even more important soon, if for no other reason than more people will be searching more often. Not only will people without computers today gain access to computers over time, but people who already have computers will be connected to the network more frequently than they are now, using portable devices such as cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and many more.
One of the things that will drive search usage from these devices is what designers call the “form factor”—how large the device is. You can imagine that browsing and navigating the large Web pages that exist today will never work as well on a cell phone’s tiny screen as it does on a computer monitor. And while some researchers believe that information can be projected in front of your eye or on the table at Starbucks, that’s farther away than people using the small screens that we already have. Those small screens just need constant connection to a network to become the search platform of tomorrow, and everyone from cell phone providers to wireless computer networks are figuring out how to make the network pervasive at a low cost. So, one simple reason that search will explode in the next few years is that mobile users will get connected and no way of accessing information will work better than search.
I came across a neat demo that gets us one step closer to more ubiquitous search—one that uses voice recognition to empower mobile users with the kind of information power that today you need to be seated in front of a computer to wield. XM Satellite Radio teamed up with VoiceBox to show how voice recognition can be paired with satellite radio to provide easy information access while driving—hands free and eyes free.
Imagine how this technology could work with a next-generation search engine that could answer questions, rather than just listing Web pages. Ask a question, get an answer—just as naturally as asking another person. Now it will be some time before search technology works as smoothly as it looks in that demo—the demo is confined to some well-understood subjects, rather than an unconstrained search in Google—but this demo shows you what will become possible.
Hat tip to Orbitcast for this nifty demo.


Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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