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    Vodafone searches for answer with Google


    Google Search to be integrated in Vodafone live! portal

    Vodafone has made the plunge to include the Google icon and search capability to its Vodafone live! customers. The operator will include the icon in its homepage, bringing the biggest internet search brand to the mobile portal.

    Both parties were quick to point out that the agreement so far is for search and search only. In other words, no Google Talk or messenger or mail facilities will be integrated.

    The issue of mobile search is an important one for operators because essentially it is about service exposure and increasing data and content service usage, both on and off-portal. Google will provide Vodafone’s customers with results from on and off-portal content, a sign than Vodafone is now confident in the quality and user experience of exposing off-portal content to its users.

    The search will be device-aware, Vodafone confirmed, as it is incorporated into the portal’s own device aware platform. In other words, for example, if you search for a song, it won’t be offered in a non-compatible format .

    Google has made several mobile announcements, including an agreement with Motorola to put the search icon directly onto certain handsets, and with T-Mobile as part of that operator’s direct html browsing strategy, Web ‘n’ Walk. The level of integration with a portal like Vodafon’s is much greater though, and required significant engineering, Nikesh Arora, vp Google EMEA confirmed. So it’s more than just a marketing tie-up.

    Other search news at the show has included Microsoft’s  acquisition of MobileBridge, a small French search company. Microsoft will add MobileBridge’s device aware capability to its own search development.