As the major search engines continue their move into the mobile phone market, Yahoo! has announced that it has come to an agreement with Telefonica, a Madrid-based mobile phone company. The new deal will see the Yahoo! applications Flickr and Yahoo! mail become available on the Telefonica network, which has over 100 million customers. Part of the agreement will have Yahoo! being the default mobile search on Telefonica’s mobile portal in Ireland, the UK, and Latin America – 15 countries in all.
With Flickr, Telefonica subscribers will be able to access the site and, it seems, upload photos: “The inclusion of Flickr in Telefonica’s mobile services will allow customers to easily view and share their photos, view their friends’ pictures, view and create comments on photos and browse or search more than one billion images”
The partnership with Telefonica follows the deal with Virgin Mobile USA in March that provided the option to download Yahoo! mail and messenger on Virgin mobiles. The applications are also pre loaded on some Virgin mobile phones. Many search technology developers have entered into the mobile search market since 2004, while slow mobile connection speeds and the lack of Internet mobile phone applications have surprisingly not had a negative impact on adoption.
From measuring the number of user visits to mobile websites from each country. “Latest statistics show a three-fold increase in usage across the US during the last 12 months. Bango a mobile phone traffic tracking provider has indicated that this is a direct result of users hunting down new content and services using mobile search platforms. By April 2007 over 20% of US mobile users were accessing the web – rapidly catching the UK at 27% and overtaking South Africa and India.”
Nick White Head of Digital Services at Virgin Mobile had this to say, “If the impact of the internet on our daily lives, as well as the global economy, has taught the mobile world anything, it is that it’s no longer about searching for the next killer application – search itself is the killer application.”
With nothing in the crystal ball to suggest the positive adoption rates will slow, the combination of Yahoo! applications and mobile search being available on mobile phones looks to be a successful business venture.