Google has released a new mobile search engine designed to make it easier to find web information using a handheld device.
Launched on Tuesday, the service can be accessed from a mobile browser and customized to feature pre-selected weather, news, stocks and movies information, tailored to a specific geographic area.
By using improved algorithms and factoring in a user's location, the new mobile search engine delivers a more relevant list of results than its previous version, said the company.
The unveiling of the new mobile search service comes on the same day that rival Yahoo launched new mobile publishing services along with a mobile advertising network. Earlier this year, Yahoo also introduced a revamped mobile search engine called OneSearch.
Google and Yahoo are busy retooling their search engines for mobile devices, recognizing that the needs of handset users are different from the needs of computer users. While Google has dominated the search engine PC market for years, leadership in the emerging mobile search space is up for grabs, as vendors experiment to develop useful layout designs and algorithms.
For example, because mobile devices' screens are smaller, keyboards more cramped and internet connections often slower, the consensus is that search engines need to offer fewer but more targeted results, and collate, in a single window, results of various types, like local business listings, maps, photos, news, as well as general websites.
As mobile devices gain more powerful hardware and access to faster Internet connections, it is becoming more feasible to use them for online activities previously limited to PCs, including searching the web, streaming videos, playing back songs and making e-commerce purchases. This mobile internet frontier opens up new opportunities, as well as challenges, for Internet and traditional media companies, which recognize that handheld devices will become eventually the preferred vehicle for accessing the web.