Local Search

Yelp Launches Android App

Yelp has gone from a company that just a couple of years ago was relatively passive about mobile -- people at Palm were the ones that got Yelp Mobile going -- to one that now is intensely focused on mobile and has apps for iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre and mobile Web. Today Yelp extended that to Android.

It offers basically the same functionality as on the other mobile platform apps. According to Yelp:

Similar to all of our other mobile apps, Android launches with basic search and browse functionality search. But we've also been able to work in sales and special offers (just in time for the holidays) and "Hot on Yelp" (buzzworthy businesses according to yelpers - according to bookmarks in the past 30 days).

Here are a few screens from the app:

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Yelp now sees the profound connection between the PC and mobile (in the local context) and the importance of mobile for the future of Yelp, its brand and user loyalty.

Will Aardvark Sell for $30 Million?

TechCrunch is reporting a rumor that answer community and social search tool Aarvark is considering a $30 million buyout offer from Google:

Social search service Aardvark is considering accepting a $30+ million offer by Google, say multiple sources close to the companies (one source says it’s $40 million). The company, which was founded by ex-Googlers, has raised around $6 million in venture capital to date.

The company is also talking with other potential buyers, say our sources.

Here's the dilemma and challenge: selling to Google or another will probably take the company in a somewhat different direction than the founders envision. Dodgeball launguished under Google and Jaiku was shut down. However, this is guaranteed money and the Aardvark business model is "embryonic" at best. 

Is Aardvark a service that will continue to grow and become an alternative "word of mouth" tool that people use instead of conventional search (esp. on the go)? Or is it a promising service that won't quite live up to user expectations (which is what some are saying today). In the former scenario, Aardvark could potentially sell for much more. In the latter, $30 million would represent a good (and very quick) exit. Recall that Google early on tried to buy Friendster for $30 million

This is obviously a tough choice and to some degree about predicting the future. The founders will need to evaluate their growth, look at how viable their intended business models are and search their gut instincts.

But investors and the "rational" decision may be to try and create a bidding war and then sell with some assurance that the new parent will allow development consistent with the founders' vision. 

 Here are previous posts on Aardvark:

Google Visual Search: Break Away from the Box

As we've argued previously "mobile search" has so far been a small-screen version of its PC sibling: a box producing links and images on a tiny version of a Web page. But as 2010 begins we'll see "mobile search" start to break away more and more and take on more of the "native" attributes of the handset (location awareness, voice input, camera).

Local "discovery" (what's nearby) apps and tools are starting to do that, leveraging the phone's location awareness. In addition voice is starting to assume a more prominent role as a query input mechanism. Verizon's Droid ads featuring voice search are an example of the increasing visibility of this utility. And the camera is increasingly a search tool. Product barcode scanning is one use case, which is gaining traction. Augmented reality (AR) is yet another example. However, AR is mostly novelty now -- although it will evolve and mature quickly.

In that latter category Google Goggles or Google Visual Search, as it's more descriptively called, is a potentially compelling use of the camera as a search tool. Currently being tested, it will allow a user to take a picture of an object, building, product, etc. and retrive information and maybe commercial content (e.g., coupons, what's on sale). AR "browsers" such as Wikitude and Layar offer an early version of visual search. But, so far, these are somewhat awkward integrations of third party data displayed in the camera viewer.

Google Visual Search is a more ambitious version of what Amazon has done with products: you take a picture of an item and Amazon will find it for you in the database. In the recent CNBC documentary "Inside the Mind of Google," there was a bit on "Google Googles." Here's the video segment that has it (about 3:58) 

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Google is one of the few companies, Microsoft is probably the other, that can bring all the evolving elements of search together on the handset: location/maps, camera/AR (including barcode scanning) and voice with the massive databases needed to make it all work. Unlike the PC where search is "flat," (box + links) search on a mobile device will be "variegated," featuring the integration of different tools and capabilities together in context sensitive and relevant ways. 

And if Google can do "visual search" well -- again, being able to tie the database together with images and location is the key -- others will have a hard time breaking through in "mobile search." On a related note, as a kind of baby step in this realm, Google has integrated QR barcode search with local business window decals.

We don't need to worry about the business model for Visual Search, it's pretty obvious: text and display ads, videos with pre-roll, sponsored contextual links and coupons could all be presented in results, depending on what was relevant and appropriate to the information shown. 

Update: Google Goggles available from Google Labs today. 

A Peak into the BlackBerry App Strategy

BlackBerry is trying to play the iPhone apps game and still create something distinctive. In general the RIM platform needs to create a better "home grown" (as opposed to Opera) mobile browser experience and offer enough apps to keep App World generally competitive with the iPhone. It doesn't need to cultivate 100K apps, but it needs to have "enough" in each category. That's something of a moving target but there are clearly diminishing returns when the numbers get too large -- and discovery becomes a problem. 

Simply duplicating what the iPhone or others (e.g., Android) are doing is probably not a winning strategy for RIM. But an interview with ZDNet offers a peak at how RIM will seek to differentiate and distinguish the BlackBerry apps experience from the competition. 

Here's an interesting bit from the interview with RIM Senior Vice President Alan Brenner:

This notion of enabling deep integration is distinctive, and it speaks to our traditional strength as BlackBerry — which is we make the applications work together, and their functionality is orchestrated around users' needs and tasks and objectives, rather than [around] the features of an application.

So the idea is to make BlackBerry apps work with the core functions of the handset and software at a deeper level than the iPhone or other smartphone apps platforms, where the apps are like stand-alone sites and basically don't integrate much with the handset (save the camera and location awareness). 

We'll see how this turns out in practice but conceptually it's very interesting. 

New Bing Mobile Client Launches

The old Microsoft Live Search mobile app offered a very strong and competitive user experience and featured voice search as well. I liked it quite a bit and believed it was not well appreciated. Today, in addition to a major upgrade of Bing Maps for the PC, Microsoft relaunched (or launched) the Bing mobile client for Sidekick, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. I haven't yet had a chance to try it but I would imagine that it's an improvement on the old Live Search app.

According to the Bing Community blog, the following are the prominent features of the new mobile app:

  • Type Less, search more: Typing can be tough on small devices. Now you can easily speak your search query into your phone and let Bing do the rest. We’ve really worked to improve the quality of recognition and level of understanding we have when you speak – I always use this first now.
  • Map Your Way: Quickly access maps, driving directions and traffic information so you can find where you are and get where you are going. The new application also includes an improved auto-locate feature to show your current location.
  • Act Locally: Wherever you are, Bing makes it easy to find a nearby business, a new restaurant, or even a local movie theatre with the latest show times. You can quickly and easily bookmark locations and businesses for later reference.
  • Get Quick Answers: Make decisions fast and on the go with the top web results and instant answers for your pressing questions. Save favorites and recent searches to a list so that you don’t have to repeat searches.

Voice search is by Tellme. The branding of the Bing mobile app is consistent with the PC, including changing photography on the homepage of the app -- one of the most well liked features of Bing the PC search engine.

If we can assume that the user experience here is good, the missing piece is availability on more platforms such as the iPhone, Android, Nokia and webOS. Microsoft can't afford to neglect these other platforms, especially the iPhone. Collectively all these platforms offer an opportunity to gain exposure to more people and acclimate them to the Bing brand and user experience.

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Update: Bing is working an iPhone app apparently

Baidu Going Mobile to Blunt Google Growth

Chinese search engine Baidu.com is developing a mobile app that will be preloaded on many Chinese handsets in an effort to prevent Google from gaining share as search goes increasingly mobile. According to Computer World:

Mobile phones pre-loaded with the Baidu Palm application should appear on the market soon as the company has already reached deals with handset makers, a Baidu representative said in an e-mail late Friday. The software is the "most important product in Baidu's mobile strategy," the company said in a statement announcing it last week.

Baidu is the third largest search engine by volume in the world, based solely on its dominance of the Chinese market:

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According to Opera's most recent State of the Mobile Web report, Google is third and Baidu is first among the top ten sites visited by those using the Opera browser on mobile devices in China:

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The iPhone, which had a lackluster debut in China (chiefly because it's so expensive), is mostly a Google search device, as is Android. In particular, if Android devices do well in China that will benefit Google's market share. It will be interesting to see if Chinese Android users still prefer Baidu or simply use the Google box on the handset's homescreen.

Apple to Take iPhone Maps Away from Google?

The "tension" between Google and Apple is now well known. Indeed, Android and the iPhone are direct competitors (as are Apple and Google in several other contexts now) and Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigned (or perhaps was ousted by Steve Jobs) from the Apple board a few months ago.

Google "owns" the iPhone Maps app, but for how much longer? A job posting on the Apple site received a great deal of attention over the weekend. Here's the job description: 

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"We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things." This could mean services built around Maps but it could also mean the ouster of Google from the iPhone Maps app altogether. We'll wait and see, but Apple has created a geo-team and is putting a good deal of effort into location-based services -- although it doesn't have the holistic mapping assets that Google has developed with Street View, etc. 

Verizon and Motorola Bring Google Voice Search to Times Square

Google, Verizon and Motorola have sure developed a flair for the dramatic. According to this post on a site operated by the Android's leading triumvirate, you can use "just your voice" to "search Time Square without touching a single button."

The claim is a bit overblown. What they mean to say is that after pressing 10 buttons to tap out 888-DROID DO (888-376-4336), you'll be able to speak your query terms for interpretation by the speech recognition resources of Google Mobile Search. It's part of an advertising and promotional campaign whereby Verizon will use the digital billboards that light up time square to prompt passers-by to dial the toll-free number "search for practically anything" and then see the results illustrated on those digital billboards rendered in Google Maps.

According to this post in Silicon Valley Insider, the companies launched the service earlier this month to coincide with the general availability of Motorola's Droid in retail stores. They didn't take into account the Yankees' World Series Victory Parade, so it was sparsely attended, making it the perfect shake-down cruise for the service. On November 27 (Black Friday) the billboards will be up and operating at 6 AM and stay active until 3 AM the following morning. While it is touted as a promotion for all things Droid, it amounts to a highly visible showcase for speech-enabled, multimodal mobile search. It embraces spoken input of query terms and visual rendering of results. Now all we have to do is convince the general public that they don't have to book all the digital signage in Time Square to use their voice to get turn-by-turn directions on their mobile phones.

This story is also posted on www.opusresearch.net

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Postscript: This kind of marketing and promotion is what voice needs to become mainstream. We'll see how sustained this type of promotion is; however, it's a very strong first step to generate word-of-mouth and PR around voice search. 

There's also more detail on the Google Mobile Blog. 

Microsoft Mobile Marketplaces: A Bridge to Mobile Search-based Commerce

Microsoft Mobile's reputation is such that, whatever tactic it pursues, it will find criticism from one or more members of the analyst community. The launch of Microsoft Mobile Marketplaces is no exception. In this post on Moconews, Tricia Duryee makes the particularly harsh observation that the new service "hints at how far behind Microsoft is in mobile advertising", and goes further by noting that Google has purchased AdMob to move on to banners while "Microsoft is still meddling around in mobile search."

I dunno, on the other hand, what choice does Microsoft have. It is not as if it has to choose between banners and search marketing. Especially as it builds the Bing.com brand, we would argue that it is wise to link mobile marketing and advertising campaigns to all of the resources and capabilties baked into the Bing brand. That includes a shopping engine that provides "cash back" as well as the potential to build additional vertical or specialized mobile search engines that leverage off of the Bing platform for purchasing sponsored links. 

Sure, today's results are modest. The service only supports search of Ringtones. But it is a good test case for future offers that establish marketplaces for a wider variety of products and services, both for download and order from real-world merchants. The Ringtone Marketplace may be a pale precursor to what's ahead, but before we concede all mobile advertising and commerce to Google and Apple, let's not totally discount Microsoft's ability to build a business around mobile search marketing and Bing. 

WhitePages.com Now on Android Devices

WhitePages.com follows up its popular iPhone app with a full-featured one for Android devices. This follows the company's successful launch of Caller ID as a stand alone Android application (paid app). The Android app largely mirrors the iPhone app and features:

  • People Search
  • Business Search
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Add to Contacts
  • A free seven day trial of Caller ID (not on the iPhone). After that it costs roughly $14 per year.

Here's a video demo and tour of the Android app's features:

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WhitePages.com is hugely successful, if seldom discussed, online, with roughly 19 million monthly users in the US. 

Google Makes Mobile Coupon Push

Google has had a big opportunity in local coupons that it has largely neglected perhaps until now. But now Google is making a push into mobile distribution of local coupons for small businesses.

According to the Google LatLong blog, when local businesses create coupons through the Google Local Business Center those offers will be shown automatically on Place Pages for local businesses accessed via mobile devices (smartphones). Accordingly, just like paid-search ads, mobile coupon distribution is an opt-out according to the FAQs on the site:

Your Google Coupons may now be viewed and redeemed via mobile phones.

When users search for businesses from their mobile devices, they will now be able to see your coupons from the device. Rather than bringing a printed coupon into your store, they will be able to show you the coupon, formatted correctly, directly on the screen of their mobile device.

If you don't want to distribute your coupons via mobile phones, just un-check the box on the 'Edit Coupon' page.

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This is consistent with Google trying to minimize or eliminate distinctions between the PC and mobile Web experiences, as well as leveraging mobile for additional distribution of PC advertising. 

We know from lots of our own data as well as third party research that coupons/deals/discounts are a very popular mobile advertising vehicle that consumers are highy receptive to

Flook: 'StumbleUpon for the Real World'

This morning Flook became available in the iTunes store. Calling itself the "worlds first location browser" it reminds me of a version of what Socialight was trying to do at one time: use community to enable people to use mobile devices to discover what's interesting or going on "right here." The following discussion from the Flook release explains the service and how it works:

Flook’s unique approach combines a web browsing concept with the physical world by allowing users to browse or make “cards” at their current location. Flook learns what the user likes and delivers new findings – without the user needing to search for them. . . The team has been mindful of creating an interface that is user-focused – letting the simplicity of design mask the complexity of the back-end technology.

Within flook, a colorful landscape of robots guides the user to browse or create. One can browse cards that capture what’s amazing nearby, including food and drink, local secrets, events, art and more. And when inspired, users can also create their own card to share what they’ve found . . .

As well as user-generated content, flook’s cards are also made from a quickly growing library of external sources, such as event information from Upcoming (upcoming.yahoo.com) and local tweets from Twitter (twitter.com). Sharing via Twitter, adds geo-location and photos to tweets. Facebook integration is coming soon. Browsing the world is now just as easy as swiping through an iPhone’s photo library – just flick one card away and another takes its place. If the user likes the look of a card, they can “flip it” to read the comments and view a map, or collect it so that it is easily available later. Cards are simple and quick to make. Users just take a photo (and add some text if desired), place the card, and it's done. The card will automatically be attached to the place where it was made (geo-tagged) and left for others to find.

Essentially then users create and discover Flook "cards," which contain text and images, at specific places. Geotagging is automatic. Users annotate and discuss these places, businesses, points of interest to enable others to discover what's happening "here" or immediately nearby. 

Even though the idea of discovering what's going on around me isn't new, this interface and implementation in Flook is very interesting and pretty novel. In our last webcast we discussed what was potentially coming in local beyond "local search." Flook is very creative expression of "local discovery" -- StumbleUpon for the real world. It also uses the camera, location awareness and mobility in pretty compelling ways.

Take a look at the video and you get a better sense of how it looks and works:

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Will Google Earth Evolve into AR App?

Google has upgraded its Earth for the iPhone app. The app most notably now includes the ability to access your personalized Google Maps (My Maps). On the mobile Web you can access your Maps "starred places" (effectively a lighter form of My Maps) and -- with great difficulty -- you can get access to your personalized Google Maps via the Safari browser. But the Google Earth implementation is a much easier way into My Maps.

Google Earth on the PC is a great resource and full of rich information, but it's not particularly useful and accessible for "local search." Although you can get local information it's not a quick and easy process. Doing local business or POI lookups on Earth for the iPhone is much easier and more practical but still not likely to become the primary use case for the app. 

What then might the future hold for Google's Earth app? Might it become an entry point for Latitude? Or . . . what about augmented reality?

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On the BlackBerry (see video) and Android devices you can access Google's Street View imagery. But not through the Earth iPhone app. My speculation is that Google will eventually develop an augmented reality experience, either through the Google Mobile app or through Earth for mobile. The latter would be a nice complement to the current functionality and would make a certain amount of sense if Google were to develop augmented reality.

They're already playing with similar presentations of content on the PC with Street View and, in a way, with the integration of Street View into Navigation for Android and the aforementioned Google Maps layers on some mobile devices. 

What Do They Do with Smartphones in the UK?

Nielsen offers some interesting data on UK smartphone owners and what they're doing online with their devices. First the penetration numbers:

  • UK population: 61.4 million (world bank)
  • UK mobile subscribers: 75.75 million (more than 100%)
  • UK smartphone owners (per Nielsen): 6.2 million 

So the smartphone penetration rate in the UK is less than in the US and just over 4% if the numbers above are accurate.

Here's what Nielsen says smartphone/mobile users in the UK are doing -- a leading indicator of broader behavior later for the mainstream users as they upgrade:

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Here's what Opera says are the most visited sites among its user base in the UK (September data):

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Deloitte: 19% of Consumers to Use Mobile While Holiday Shopping

Consulting firm Deloitte conducts an annual consumer survey in Q4 (n=10,878 US adults). Among other findings, this year, the firm discovered the following about the integration of mobile into holiday season shopping behavior:

  • 19% of consumers [said] they plan to use their mobile phone while shopping to find store locations, obtain coupons and sales information, and research products and prices
  • In the 18 to 29 years old age group, four out of 10 (39 percent) say they plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping

Retailers with apps, mobile-friendly sites and promotions (coupons, SMS) may reap the benefits of this consumer behavior vs. those that neglect mobile. 

SmarterAgent Now on 'All Carriers, All Devices'

As a kind of response to the AdWeek piece below, I would argue that real estate is a vertical that has really taken off in mobile; consumers are using smartphones to find listings and agents are increasingly getting mobile distribution through partners such as Trulia and Zillow.

SmarterAgent, which has been doing mobile for a long time, uses a white-label approach to help brokers and agents market to consumers. This morning the company announced that it has achieved near ubiquity on mobile platforms, devices and carriers:

Smarter Agent, a mobile technology company that provides GPS and MLS search applications to consumers and real estate agents, today announced general availability on all carriers, devices and platforms including key partnerships with Verizon Wireless and an application for the Android platform. Smarter Agent can already be found on wireless carriers Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, reaching traditional cell phones as well as the iPhone and BlackBerry devices, making Smarter Agent the only company to have robust downloadable real estate applications on all major carriers for all US cell phones.

Here are some datapoints provided by their PR people:

  • Smarter Agent gets a new user every 1.5 minutes (via download)
  • Users look at 40-50 properties per search session;
  • Users log-in to search 12 times per month;
  • 22% of users who download app hit the call to see button, call goes to Realtor

The idea is that the realtor prompts the user to download an app containing MLS listings that is associated with and branded by that realtor. Then when they "call to see" the desired property the lead goes to that realtor:

Smarter Agent’s mobile phone application allows consumers to view all available MLS listing information on homes for sale around them anytime, anywhere from the convenience of their cell phone, iPhone or BlackBerry. They can search for properties based on their GPS location, address, city, or zip code. The application shows them detailed MLS information, including price, beds/baths, taxes, estimated mortgage, maps and photos! When a consumer is ready to see a property they simply hit the “Call To See” button and they are routed directly to an agent. That agent could be you!

The business model is a monthly licensing fee. 

I asked SmarterAgent President Eric Blumberg whether agents "got" mobile and how the apps and platform were being received. As one might expect he said that both consumers and agents were very enthusiastic about mobile and about the SmarterAgent apps and tools. Although the remarks are self-promotional, I believe him. 

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Loopt Offers Local-Social Approach in Pulse

Loopt has been struggling to reinvent itself since Facebook came to dominate the mobile social landscape (and to a lesser degree Twitter). It's very hard to compete with an installed base of 300 million, with more than 70 million using a mobile app to access the social network. Hence LooptMix and now Pulse.

Mix is a dating app and Pulse is much more of a ultiliarian local search tool, with social recommendations -- rather than a mobile social network that has local listings. The (re)positioning is important.

There are two modes in Pulse: search and "pulse" (discover). Here's what the NY Times said earlier this week:

Loopt aims to distinguish itself by making its service comprehensive. It incorporates feeds from 20 sources, including listings and review services like Zagat, Citysearch and Eventful as well as content sites like DailyCandy, Thrillist and The Village Voice.

Pulse produces a personalized and ever-changing list of recommendations based on where you are, the time of day and Loopt’s own data on where you and your friends have been. It shows editorial descriptions and reviews from the partner sites and averages the ratings a business has received.

The two differentiators are thus content breadth and the push-recommendations. At a high level, however, this is the same conceptual discussion we had with Aloqa this afternoon. Having said that Loopt is better off through diversification and repositioning as a local entertainment source rather than being primarily a friend finder. 

Yet there are a lot of companies in the mobile-local segment and the incumbents will not cede the space easily. Witness Whrrl (from Pelago) that was aiming to be what Pulse aspires to. The company was unsuccessful gaining traction as Yelp, Citysearch and other established companies moved more aggressively into mobile. 

However Loopt seems pretty scrappy and adaptable. We'll see how the new direction fares. 

Tetherball and ViVOtech Promote RFID Mobile Loyalty Programs

Mobile loyalty firm Tetherball and "contactless" payment services provider ViVOtech have joined forces to promote NFC/RFID-based mobile loyalty marketing programs. Tetherball is currently running one such program with QSR chain Dairy Queen. It works as follows: the Dairy Queen customer, who has previously opted-in to receive communication or offers via SMS (and has placed an RFID tag/sticker on her phone), takes that phone to a small in-store kiosk and swipes it to receive a paper version of the offer (coupon) and redeem it. The kiosk prints out the right coupon for the customer, controlling for fraud and making redemption easier at the register. 

The new partnership combines this RFID based mobile loyalty program approach with ViVOtech’s installed base of contactless readers (and their customers). Here's how the press release explains it: 

Integrating traditional marketing methods such as in-store advertising, customers are engaged to sign up for mobile loyalty rewards programs offering promotional discounts and rewards points for purchases or visits. Upon joining, customers are given a Tetherball Tag™ powered by ViVOtech technology, a tiny RFID chip that is easily affixed to their current mobile phones, which uniquely identifies them through Tetherball’s sophisticated technology platform. Tetherball clients are then able to send offers to their customers via standard text messaging. Offers are redeemed electronically using existing in-store Contactless point-of-sale terminals or stand-alone Contactless kiosks provided by Tetherball. 

One of the challenges of the old system that Tetherball was using was the need to install the kiosk/readers at the POS. Now through this partnership they've got access to an existing infrastructure. 

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You can listen to a webinar featuring Tetherball President Jay Highley discuss mobile loyalty with SmartReply's Mike Roman from our recent Mobile Marketing Summit.

Verve, AP Offer "White Label" Mobile App

Verve Wireless and AP have joined forces to offer a mobile app for newspaper and other local media publishers. It's also an effort to build an ad network, which Verve has been doing since its inception as a platform for newspaper publishers and other media companies to mobilize their content. The white label app works across the major smartphone platforms. 

According to the press release from yesterday:

The new white label service is based off the award winning AP Mobile news network application developed for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile, and Nokia N series devices. To date, it has been downloaded by more than 2.4 million people and has more than 55 million page views a month. The application provides readers with features such as rich graphics, audio and video as well as breaking news alerts.

The new service was built to directly address expense and time constraints that publishers would face in building, hosting, maintaining and upgrading their own cross-platform mobile application. This allows publishers to streamline operations under one vendor and standardize content presentation, usage metrics and advertising delivery . . .

Verve Dashboard provides publishers with a means to manage mobile executions in one place. It offers controls for use by editors, advertising, marketing, sales, and content creators. Publishing options include mobile Web, and client applications (all platforms), as well as video. Advertising options include display, messages, interstitial, video, and national geo-targeting, with the ability to manage one campaign across all properties utilizing the national network. Reporting and analytics are also provided through the dashboard. 

Publishers are increasingly looking to mobile as a critical platform for distribution and potentially revenue, but most local media companies are probably not able to put out competitive apps and mobile properties, let alone monetize them themselves. 

Bing Update Brings Visual Richness to Mobile

One of Bing's value propositions is that it's visually richer than Google. Today's update of the mobile version of Bing brings more of the PC-based experience into mobile, for touch devices in particular. If Bing can do this across the board, bring visual information and "answers" into the mobile search experience, it will grab attention and has a fighting change to grab more usage on mobile devices.

There are also some new features, explained on the Bing Community blog:

  • NFL feature – type a team or player and see upcoming games, stats, and scores. While the game is on, you can get real-time updates on the plays. (U.S. only)
  • Flight status – enter the airline and flight number and get the latest departure and landing times.
  • We optimized for touch navigation to make the most of your phone, and added a great new Movies feature.

Here are a few example screens:

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