Text-Based Search Market Heats Up

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According to RCR Wireless News, Google isn’t the only game in town when it comes to text-based search on cell phones. (This is in contrast to mobile search as a whole, where Google and Yahoo reign much like on desktop PCs.) The report said that ChaCha claims to have delivered search results to 1 million users since its launch earlier this year, answering more than 27 million queries via text message—results that Nielsen Mobile backs up.

Google is still the top player here, too. But ChaCha, as well as 4INFO, Yahoo, and (rounding out the top five) YellowPages.com, are all giving Google plenty of competition, the likes of which they haven’t seen for a long time on the desktop.

“I think it’s a wide-open space; SMS is just so widespread,” said David Gill, director of mobile media for Nielsen Mobile, in the article. “You’ve got something on the order of 200 million people in the U.S. just sending transactional text messages. The opportunity, when compared to the mobile Web, you’ve got a potential market 4.5 times that size. That’s just a reach opportunity. There are certain segments you’re just not going to get with a mobile Web or downloadable client search.”