Yahoo! expands search to SMS

Internet portal Yahoo! has enhanced its mobile phone offerings with the launch of Yahoo! SMS (Short Message Service) Search and the enhancement of Yahoo! Search on Mobile.

Yahoo! SMS Search, as the name suggests, allows a mobile phone user to text a search request to Yahoo! and get back results. Yahoo! says that the service will offer a range of information services including weather reports, share prices and local information. At launch the service supplies a number of ‘shortcuts’ to popular services including local information, a WiFi hotspot finder, weather, daily horoscopes and dictionary definitions,

The company envisages it being particularly useful for the local searches. For example in the case of the ubiquitous pizza, you text in your request and where you are either by place name or zip code and Yahoo! will text back the results.

Doug Garland, senior vice president, Yahoo! Mobile commented, ‘shortcuts on mobile devices let consumers get the information they need, from finding the latest weather forecast, to updated stock quotes, to tracking down a good place to have lunch from wherever they are’.

The service was rolled out yesterday in the US across a number of the country’s wireless carriers. There are no immediate plans, however, to introduce the service in the UK or elsewhere.

Yahoo has also announced that it has extended the coverage of Yahoo! Search on Mobile. The service now extends to include WAP 2.0 (XHTML) enabled handsets. Previously, the service was only available to handsets that supported HTML. The use of text style shortcuts also now extends to Search on Mobile.

As mobile phones have become more powerful with added features, so the search engines have targeted the market to provide mobile information services. Google, for example, launched its own SMS search service last year. Increasingly the search engines are offering new services and doing deals with the telcos to provide their search on mobile phones as the battle for market share moves beyond the desktop.

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