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?