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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Google on mobile devices, ready for prime time

Posted by direwolff on January 29, 2006

Since the week before Christmas I’ve been putting my new crackberry 8700c through its paces. Part of this has meant getting on the Web and seeing if there were enough utlitarian applications that actually helped me deal with every day tasks. More importantly, how these apps translated into mobile use.

While John Battelle in his book “Search”, has coined Google as being the “Database of Intentions”, my every day Web searching really doesn’t help get clarity on this matter. Sure, I find what I’m looking for, but I’m not giving much thought to intentions during those interactions. However, on a mobile device it’s altogether a different story. While today was not the first time that I had this feeling and experience, it was certainly noteworthy.

Lil’ Pinot & I were out and about having decided that we would go get a couple of board games to play with dinner guests. Scrabble would be in the mix as well as one or two others. After going to two malls in Corte Madera and coming up craps for game stores I decided to pull up my trusty RIM device and go to Google.

My first query was “games, Marin”. As you imagine, got lots of noise back on the results.

Second query was “”games store”, Marin”. This was getting closer but still the 1st 3 results were a bit off still.

Third query was “”games store”, Marin, “board games””, which resulted in a top result (as seen poorly in the picture above) of “San Francisco Bay Area Board Game Resources – Spotlight on Games”. In clicking through on this result, the listing that came back from the destination site read: “Marin County (north of San Francisco): Gamescape, San Rafael, 1225 Fourth Street”, followed by other listings in different parts of the SF Bay Area. The address was hyperlinked to Mapquest (unfortunately, that part didn’t work).

This blew me away. In 3 queries I got to exactly what I was looking for and it was within 10 minutes of where I was. Here was a simple use of the gneric search engine in a mobile situation where time was of the essence, where I wasn’t accessing any of the designated “local” features, but was able to resolve what I was looking for quickly and effectively. While there are a lot of efforts to add a local flair to search, I can frankly say that if you know how to use the engines today, you probably don’t see what the issue or the need for further localization is. Content owners are also getting better at making sure that location information makes up part of the sites. Suffice it to say, this was useful and when combined w/Google Local for Mobile which provided me a perfect interactive map, I’m sold that these devices are now ready for prime time.

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