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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

April 25, 2007 at 11:37 AM

Mobile search to PC??

I’ve been writing about mobile search for a while now, and how results have to be more accurate on the phone. That’s because the amount of time people have and the size of the screen and keyboard they are working with don’t make sifting through billions of results handy.

Yahoo! addresses that need by tailoring search results. When you search for “apple,” you probably mean the company, not the fruit. When you search for “300,” it’s probably in reference to movie now playing in theaters, not the number.

Mobile search results are also increasingly based on a person’s location and search history.

With so many companies trying to fix mobile search for the phone, I wondered why searching on the PC wasn’t more advanced?

Well, as if the Wall Street Journal were reading my mind, the paper reported today that things are starting to change.

It wrote that Google and a wide range of startups are trying to translate factors such as where you live, the ads you click on and the types of restaurants you search for into more-relevant search results.

A chef who searched for “beef,” for example, might be more likely to find recipes than encyclopedia entries about livestock. And a film buff who searched for a new movie might see detailed articles about the making of the film, rather than ticket-buying sites.

That jibes with what I learned last week after attending a panel discussion on mobile advertising at Google’s offices in Kirkland. An engineering manager addressed this very problem and said one interesting thing about mobile search is the lessons that can be applied to searching on the PC.

“We might use it on the PC. That’s why we are excited about the space,” said Kosar Jaff, an engineering manager at Google.

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