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Mobile Search "The Next Big Thing?"
Mozilla, Opera Among the Leaders

A new  Yankee Group says that about two-thirds of the U.S. population owns a cell, or mobile, phone. With more functionality being built into them, a number of companies are now working to make search a more popular application. This is the new frontier.

"There is a huge community of people reliant on portals like Google search on their personal computers," says Yankee Group analyst Linda Barrabee. "Extending that to mobile phones, which people always have when they're on the go, makes a lot of sense."

The Wireless Markup Language (WML), which is a simplified version of HTML, is often used for today's cell-phone browsing, but is limited in memory and cannot acess everything on the Web. So a number of companies, including Opera, AOL, and Mozilla are attempting to develop new ways of making mobile search more powerful.

In particular, Mozilla, developers of the increasingly popular Firefox browser, is moving in this direction. It recently announced a prevew version of a browser that has the same code base as Firefox--not a "light" version--and is using a set of XML tags to describe GUIs. In other words, "We're optimizing the browser so that the Web-surfing experience on a smaller screen can be truly similar to the desktop," says Mozilla's lead engineer Doug Turner.


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Mobile Search "The Next Big Thing?"
With cell phone (or mobile phone) usage reaching deep penetration in the U.S., the new frontier is web browsing and searching. An existing standard, WML, seems inadequate, so now a number of companies are trying to blaze the trail along this frontier.




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