AOL has launched a beta version of their new AOL Mobile Search product which takes advantage of AOL properties such as Moviefone, MapQuest and AOL CityGuide. Like the traditional AOL Search, the web search functionality is powered by Google with local listings by CityGuide (not Google Local) and News & Stocks powered by AOL News.
The interface uses tabs for changing from web to local to news results, which can be cumbersome while searching on the mobile, and offers advertising displayed by Third Screen Media and Pay Per Call ads via Ingenio.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Yahoo One Search in terms of mobile search and its up/down philosophy, meaning I don’t have to move my fingers as much to the left and the right while performing local searches on the mobile phone and driving at the same time. I also noticed that when performing a local search, AOL did not know my location. Some other mobile search services use such info as cell towers or information given by the mobile service provider in order to initially ‘guess’ at the user’s location.
All mobile search services have a long way to go before perfecting themselves, and as we’ve seen with the Apple iPhone, a change in cellular functionality or technology have have a profuse effect on the end users’ needs and mobile usage behavior; which the search & content companies will have to adapt to.
AOL does a magnificent job of integrating its own content into the mobile search experience and given its suite of ‘ready for mobile’ services like MovieFone, MapQuest and CityGuide… it’s almost like the company was planning their mobile move years ago – which I’m sure was the case.