Search on mobile devices continues to represent several hurdles and that means opportunities for firms looking to make a mark. The interface and the input mechanism are two of the major challenges in the mobile searching space.
An article at Technology Review mentions voice recognition, image processing and semantic technologies as forerunners to solving the web search on mobiles. As much as this points towards opportunities, there is also the mention of people looking for familiar or known brands. This implies that for a company looking to make a mark in the mobile space, a service that is already popular helps.
Looking at the technologies side of the question, semantic analysis is what seems most promising. All of our activities on the web are always backed by some intention or motive which again comes from an activity that we indulged in previously. If only there were a single program with offline / online representation so that it could make sense of the tasks that the user was performing, it could guess or suggest tags on the things we might be interested in searching. Take the example of a coder or developer – If you are working in an Integrated Developer environment and come across an error and then open your browser window there is a very good probability that you want to do a search on that error.
There are many computational challenges to making such a program available, that can communicate with any application that you would be working on But this is what the Semantic Web is trying to do – making web applications describe their data such that programs can use this metadata for further processing. And this will have many implications on the mobile web as well. Because when the user interface and input mechanisms seem limited, the solution has to address the problem of how to make user input on the mobile device minimal.