Google announced earlier this week that it will offer a search box to mobile Web publishers to plant on their sites and share revenues from search results. This will be an extension of the existing AdSense for Mobile program.
Overall, the move really isn’t a big surprise: Google is following the same path it did online many years ago by partnering with publishers and getting their search box planted in as many places as possible on the mobile Web.
Its overall efforts with AdSense for Mobile should be successful, not just because it’s Google, but also because it will be very competitive with its offers to publishers. Online, it offers a roughly 80/20 revenue split in favor of publishers.
It’s also interesting to note different strategies by search rivals to jockey for positioning on the mobile Web. Yahoo and Microsoft have gone after carriers with search deals in place with AT&T and Verizon, respectively. These place mobile search engines on the carrier deck that comes with phones that run on these networks.
But Google’s placing its bet on off-deck searches, which are growing as the mobile Web becomes more and more like the online Web. This is mostly a result of the bar that’s been raised by the iPhone, and continued smartphone penetration, which is almost 20 percent of U.S. mobile users, according to TKG data.
Through this, a growing number of users are taking advantage of the full Web browsing capabilities of their phones, and going off deck. If you think about it, this is more like the Web as we know it — you can go wherever you want rather than being stuck with the tools on the home page that your ISP gives you.
Mobile user behavior is quickly evolving, so it’s hard to say what standards will emerge. But as the mobile Web becomes more and more like the online Web, online search behavior could carry over to the mobile environment. This bodes well for Google and its dominant position in online search.