What is missing for the full deployment of mobile search services? Results from a survey with experts
Web search providers have developed a highly successful business model, which has rendered them amongst some of the most profitable companies operating on the internet. Many observers regard mobile search as the next new big market. In contrast to search on PCs, however, the provision of search on mobiles is still in its infancy. In order to shed light on the real prospects of mobile search we performed a two-round Delphi exercise with experts, in which we included two innovative elements. First, the Delphi exercise included seven forward-looking scenarios for discussion. Then, the second round of the Delphi was carried out during a workshop with 19 of the original 61 participants involved. In this paper we present the findings from the discussions of this final round. Our study confirms the high expectations put into the mobile search market. We found that this optimism is rooted in the view that critical technological components are already available. Our paper argues that the technology push is not yet matched by a corresponding market pull. Web search engines, mobile phone manufacturers, and telecom operators are already starting to take action to place themselves in a favourable position. They are exploring trial applications, but business models are still unclear and companies are experimenting with very different approaches. Our Delphi study identifies interfaces as critical for increased mobile search usage. Moreover, experts think that perceived usefulness is valuable but trust is essential and that privacy should be seen as an opportunity rather than a constraint. The paper concludes with some suggestions for fostering innovation, growth and competitiveness in the mobile search domain by increasing the interoperability of services, assuring the openness and mash-ups of content and services, and developing personal identity data management systems to improve user acceptance and enhance trust.