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Searching for mobile search solutions

The telcos have flooded subscibers with invitations to download multimedia content, most of it just for entertainment.

Who could escape the full page advertisements of the telcos “educating” their subscribers on how to download wallpapers, ringtones, MMS pics etc. There is so much multimedia content that I’ve seen cute little codigos on how to download content.


A few months ago, Globe came out with “Ask-G?”, a service that provides information on multimedia downloads.

It wasn’t as robust as I was hoping. To illustrate, I searched for “Norah Jones” and received information on Nora Aunor! (Serious! no joke). Well, that was close. Amusing and close. I tried the search a few days later and Ask-G replied with Norah Jones ringtones.

I was hoping that “Ask-G?” would have worked more similarly to Doctor George – a medical advice service that has human medical experts replying to specific medical inquiries.

Smart Download Agent

Now here comes Smart and their “Smart Download Agent”. I saw this in a print ad yesterday. Download Agents are people have catalogues of downloadable content and will guide subscribers on how to download ringtunes, picture messages, logos and other content.

I wonder whether this method will result in higher uptake of multimedia content.

The need for Search

Globe and Smart have recognized that there’s too much trash content out there that people have lost track of how to download the content.

Globe’s solution was highly technical (a server-side search engine via SMS) while Smart’s solution is more high-touch (a person guiding subscribers on how and what to download).

If just for the purpose of developing the search capability, I think the telcos’ initiatives will come in handy for future apps. I still dream of the day when mobile content will mature into less of entertainment and more of informative/educational/useful.

I’ve been thinking: what do I want to see for an improved mobile search engine?

On my list:

  • Government Hotline/Textlines
  • Location-based directory assistance (e.g. “How do I contact the nearest LBC branch?”
  • Crisis text lines (e.g. something like the dial-a-friend of the 1990’s)
  • how to contact my local government officials
  • Human replies to human questions (“Paano umiwas sa Dengue?”)

What’s on your list?

ka edong

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  • Ask what?
    One thing that hinders me from using those services is the endless selections I have to go through before I get the info I want.

    On my list:
    Real time lotto results 😉

  • Smart has a keyword-based search. Send FIND keyword to 283.

  • bats


    actually, telcos have LBS content. Globe has the Friend Finder and Smart has the Kid Finder. these systems went live and they even have ads for them. but then i think it didn’t fly, i mean where are those services now? i guess there’s not much business case for these. no money = i dont care about these apps. anyway, it useful sana.


  • Maybe the search results were “mababaw”. (e.g. wallpapers, ringtones).

    But if you could search for more relevant information to be searched in the first place, maybe that’s when there’ll be money in searching mobile content – *relevant* and useful content.

  • Finally, it’s here: human powered mobile search. There’s a new free service called Mosio that allows users to text any question from their mobile phones and have it answered by real people.

    No more wrong answers without the possibility of clarification, no more mix ups based on common keywords. The screen is too small and text messages too costly to not get what you want back the first time.

    Mosio adds the human element to mobile search, giving mobile users the answers they want.


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