The 3GSM World Congress is going on this week in Barcelona, and we’ve already seen a handful of important announcements that relate to mobile local search.
Yahoo! announced a display ad platform for mobile devices that will involve banner ads at the top and bottom of mobile home pages. Yahoo!’s forte online is display advertising (compared with Google’s strength in text ads), and this is a step toward positioning the company in what will be an important ad medium. Greg Sterling has more on this deal and developments on the Yahoo! Go mobile content platform.
Microsoft has also brought its mobile Windows Live Search out of beta. This brings together a bunch of Windows Live services such as Live Mail, Live Spaces (blogging), Live Messenger (IM) on devices that run Windows Mobile OS. Mobile search and content is still at an early stage, so the integration of these extra products could be premature (most mobile search happens via SMS). This could be useful, however, in the consolidated contact list that brings together all Windows Live, Outlook and other contacts. Windows Live Search also has local search, mapping and traffic conditions. The press release is here.
InfoSpace announced a partnership with FAST today that will bring FAST’s private-label search and PPC platform to InfoSpace’s carrier partners in the U.S. Forming carrier relationships is one of the biggest challenges in mobile search and content, and the filter put in place by carrier control in the U.S. will unfortunately prevent many search technologies from seeing the light of day. Application providers can sidestep carriers by offering a mobile Web (WAP) based product or a free download, but the former isn’t as robust and the latter raises an additional adoption barrier (extra step is required) in what is already an early-adopter environment. InfoSpace has done a nice job forming partnerships and planting itself “on the carrier deck” of hundreds of phones. This deal invites FAST to the party and gives InfoSpace more functionality and ability to integrate different forms of advertising.
Last but certainly not least, AdStar announced today that it will partner with Nokia to develop a private-label mobile advertising platform. The interesting part about this arrangement is AdStar’s existing relationship with newspaper publishers (brought closer by the recent partnership with Kaango). At the recent NAA conference, a common battle cry was the need for newspapers to advertise more aggressively on mobile devices. This partnership brings the opportunity closer to home and allows AdStar to provide more of a one-stop shop for newspapers to offer advertising across print, web, and mobile.
We’re scheduled to talk to AdStar this afternoon and will have more then. In the meantime, CNET continues to provide comprehensive coverage of the 3GSM show.