January 10th, 2006

SMS Google? … But we just keep the phone book in the car

I’ve been asked to comment a lot frequently on location-based services – including mobile search – for cell phones. Folks in the industry have been painting a picture of using cell phones for everything from straightforward scenarios of finding the nearest Jamba Juice to receiving SMS alerts if someone from my college graduating class is within 100 meters of me.

I think there is a lot of really, really interesting stuff going on in this space. I have been following the phone-based versions as well as those that operate with SMS, WAP, and downloadable applications. The ad-sponsored stuff is especially interesting. Also, according to our research, there is a relatively high level of consumer interest. Consumer interest and awareness (including education), I think, are the primary barriers to adoption today – not technology.

A reality check from the midwest:

I noticed that my parents had a phone book – white pages and yellow pages – in the back seat of their car. I asked my mother why they had a phone book in the car. The response (duh): in case we need to look up a phone number. They even take it to Florida with them for the winter.

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