Google held an Inside Search event in San Francisco today, where it unveiled several new search features, including Voice Search for the desktop, Search by Image (based on Google Goggles) for the desktop, Instant Pages, and some new mobile features, including icons for nearby places and the ability to add suggested phrases.
Google also some interesting data about search habits.
"As much as technology has advanced, there are still many barriers between you and the answers you’re looking for—whether you’re juggling a clunky mobile keyboard or waiting for a website to load," said Google Fellow Amit Singhal.
"The thirst for knowledge doesn’t stop when you step away from your computer, it continues on your mobile device," he added. "In the past two years, mobile search traffic has grown five-fold. Mobile search today is growing at a comparable pace to Google in the early years."
He showed that when you look at search traffic by day of the week, on the desktop, it drops on the weekend, while on mobile, it actually goes up on the weekend, while remaining significantly high throughout the week.
Singhal also showed that if you look at search traffic by time of day, desktop traffic rises from the early morning until around lunchtime, when it starts to go back downward into the evening. For mobile, it rises through lunchtime, dips slightly from about 1:00 to 3:00PM, then rises throughout the evening until about 11pm, when it drops off significantly into the wee hours.
The graph pictured at the top shows mobile search traffic growth over the past three years (red line) compared to overall Google search traffic growth over the same duration (blue line), only earlier in Google's history.
I think the point is that mobile is a major part of search now, which means mobile browsing is a major factor in your online success.
Last week, we looked at a study from Google, showing the purchasing habits of smartphone users:
If you're still not taking your mobile presence seriously, you're behind. It starts with a mobile-optimized site, and can extend into increasing your visibility throughout popular mobile apps. While mobile is obviously huge for local business, people are clearly searching more from mobile in general, which means that if people are looking on the web for what you offer, they're looking via mobile too. Don't disappoint potential customers by offering a poor mobile experience, because chances are your competition has a usable mobile site.