Nokia Visualizes Mobile Search

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The heated competition for mobile handset search eyeballs may have reached the melting point of titanium now that a Nokia patent for visual search has been revealed. Nokia has been a technology driver throughout its existence. The world’s top handset maker hasn’t been afraid to branch out in hardware or in software, as evidenced by the discovery of their patent application.

The Unwired View blog wrote about the "semantic visual search engine" application that Nokia first filed in September 2005. Pattern recognition in the engine will allow it to learn, categorize, and search for visual content.

Visual content like refers to the booming growth in usage of camera phones for images and videos. As storage capacities increase for mobiles, people will be able to store a lot of content in a very small space. Those people will just as likely forget about pictures or movies they shot and will want to find them again.

If Nokia can deliver on this application, with an easy to use, effective visual search product, they should gain a financial advantage by satisfying their search needs in-house. Instead of partnering with an AOL or a Google for visual search and licensing technology, Nokia would own the service.

Google is not standing still on developing mobile search technology. Bill Slawski wrote at SEO by the Sea that a new patent application from Google has emerged. The patent would cover new software for searching with Google and reading email without a web browser.

Slawski thinks this software could run on phones, PDAs, and other wireless devices (which made us wonder if anyone still uses non-smartphone or non-Blackberry PDA equipment). Content returned to the phone’s software would be rendered for the small screen.

Most importantly, that content would arrive quickly, as it would not be hindered by the speed of a browser processing a request. That’s an interesting point Slawski has dug up from the application, as Google had been working with Opera Software as the default search option for Opera’s mobile browsers.

Once their one-year agreement ended, Opera jumped to Yahoo as a mobile partner. Their partnership has evolved a little beyond mobile, as Yahoo Search is now displayed by default on the portal.opera.com web page. Google remains the default search engine in the Opera browser, however.

Such specific applications being developed, like Nokia’s visual search and Google’s fast search/email reader, indicate a break from the browser-focused model on the mobile platform. Perhaps this is the harbinger of an admission that web browsing, as we know it today, just isn’t going to ever be the big draw as a mobile service.

Being able to deliver services catering to specialized needs, like email or search, may be all people really want. Sometimes the simplest solutions to problems are the ones that really succeed.

Nokia Visualizes Mobile Search
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