The mobile boom continues unabated and as the industry matures, parallels are beginning to emerge that suggest that the mobile industry is now where the Internet was in 1996.
Back then, online newbies had little points of reference as to what was available out there on the web, directories that were available were those chosen by the ISP's (AOL, CompuServe, MSN etc.), often within an editorially and commercially biased 'walled garden' environment. Eventually, World Wide Web search engines began to emerge that allowed surfers to discover the full diversity of what the Internet had to offer, warts and all!
The same can be said of today's mobile environment. The gatekeepers to the Mobile Internet (Vodafone, T-Mobile & Co) have historically been adept at keeping their subscribers from straying too far by keeping their customers within their branded portals. But things are changing, with carriers moving away from a walled garden approach. Their expected shift from being a full content provider to being a transport infrastructure that provides others content is heralding the dawn of the real Mobile Internet.
Enter www.mooobl.com - a new off-portal search tool that allows users to discover the Mobile Internet for themselves. Developed by ENQUIRE S.L., a Barcelona based company recently featured in FORBES and FORTUNE magazines, the strategy behind MOOOBL is to capitalize on the increasing volume of search traffic outside of said operator decks.
"There is, perhaps, just one last component required to deliver a fully functional Mobile Internet solution - the mobile search engine" observes Marc Jarrett, Communications Manager of ENQUIRE. "There are a lot of people searching out there. Our aim is to help them find what they want, not what their mobile network wants them to find."
It may come as no surprise that according to Overture, a Yahoo! Company, only 19% of web searches are for mobile consumables such as ring tones and logos offered on operator decks. 10% look for search engines, 5% for information services and a stunning 38% are actively seeking out adult content. As it happens, the sort of content mobile phone users really want is the sort of content MNOs do not normally want to be associated with! MOOOBL is content neutral and reflects the entire mobile internet.
"Our WAP search solution features, amongst other things, a search box on the mobile device for free text search, a WAP emulator on the web and a directory search of thousands of hand-picked WAP sites," notes Jarrett. "Furthermore, our technology allows consumers to create and share mobile content & blogs thus creating a mobile forum by people, for people, enabling them to share experiences borne from of the brave new wireless world such as Toothing and SMS Dating."
According to industry analysts, only 12% - 15% of mobile users today use their WAP browser. But by 2008 roughly 48% will be using mobiles as part of their Internet access. With carriers introducing flat fees that will certainly further stimulate this trend, there is only one way to go for bookmark candidates such as MOOOBL.