It’s been a busy day at CES for Yahoo, with announcements coming thick and fast. Among them is news of a new mobile search service called oneSearch, which is currently part of Yahoo’s beta Go for Mobile 2.0 application, but will be introduced to its mobile web and SMS services by the end of January.
“Today’s mobile search is horribly terribly broken,” says Ojas Rege, senior director of mobile products at Yahoo, who I caught up with at the show. “What happens so often is that companies take things that work on the PC and bring them to the mobile phone. So what works on a PC, when I enter a search term and want a bunch of links back to do research, doesn’t work on a mobile phone. Those links break, or take me to sites that don’t work very well, which take 10 seconds to reach.”
The thinking behind oneSearch is to bring back quick answers, which Rege says is what mobile users want when searching for something.
“If you want links, we’ll give you links, but that should be more of the backflow and not right up-front,” he says. “If you’re searching for sport, you want the score. You probably don’t want the team’s homepage, which will look like crap on your mobile phone anyway.”
As an example, if you type the name of a sports team into the oneSearch search box – Rege tried the 49ers during our chat – you first get the final score of the most recent game and information on the next one, then other content including team profiles, the official website, photos from the Web and Flickr, relevant news articles and so on. Much of this content comes from other parts of Yahoo, so it can be served up easily.
Other features include remembering your previous search queries and autofilling to make it faster to enter search terms. And oneSearch has had a successful start, with Opera dumping Google to make Yahoo its exclusive search provider for the Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers. Oof!