Google Dominates in Mobile Search, Touts Mobile First Rule

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-02-26

More than 9 percent of all page views on the mobile Web in the United States come through Google's search engine in January, according to a fresh report from browser maker Opera.

Opera calculated the statistics driven to its Opera Mini mobile browser, which it said was used by 50 million people to call up more than 23 billion Web pages for the month.

Opera Mini is not yet available on Apple's iPhone so the searches came through Nokia smartphones, Google Android devices, RIM's BlackBerry gadgets and other phones. 

For perspective, Yahoo only commands 4.3 percent of this mobile search market, with Bing notching a mere .03 percent of all page views.

Clearly, the big three in search have a lot more competition on the mobile Web than they do on the desktop. Google commands 65.4 percent in the United States, with Yahoo and Bing grabbing 17 percent and 11.3 percent share, respectively.

The Opera Mini in particular has seen an uptick in use, with a 7.4 percent increase from December 2009 and a huge 149 percent boost from January 2009. Opera Mini users created more than 337 million megabytes of data for mobile operators worldwide.

Opera CEO Jon von Techner said in a note about the mobile report that search and social networking are driving mobile Web use.

While Opera didn't study devices used to make searches via the Opera Mini browser, it's likely Nokia smartphones in Europe and new Google Android devices such as Motorola Droid and Google Nexus One, as well as RIM devices such as the BlackBerry Bold and Storm, are major vehicles for the uptick.

Google sucked up the spotlight with its mobile technologies at Mobile World Congress, where more than 55,000 people flocked to revel in the magic mobile devices and applications offer.

"With the continued growth of smartphone usage -- increasing by more than 30 percent year over year, with mobile Web adoption proceeding at a rate that is eight times faster than the equivalent point 10 years ago for the desktop, with more than half of the new Internet connections coming from mobile devices -- it's clear that we're experiencing a fundamental shift in how we access information," wrote Vic Gundotra, Google vice president of engineering for Google Mobile, in a Feb. 25 blog post.

Gundotra added that Google is leveraging a Mobile First rule, noting that when Google unveils new services for desktop computers the company will release a mobile version of the service or application of equal performance. These mobile apps will leverage Google's massive cloud of parallel servers.

Google did this in December for the launch of its real-time search effort, unveiling Google Goggles visual search and other mobile efforts.

Earlier this month, Google rolled out Google Buzz for Gmail and offered a corresponding Buzz mobile app for users to download for Android devices and iPhones.

Perhaps it is more appropriate to call this strategy of releasing desktop and mobile apps at the same time Mobile Concurrent. In any case, Google has a lot in store for the mobile Web in 2010.

Rocket Fuel