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Friday, February 15, 2008

iPhone simplicity drives Google searches and Anywhere revenue


The Financial Times observed an interesting phenomenon about iPhone usage from Google yesterday:

Google on Wednesday said it had seen 50 times more searches on Apple‘s iPhone than any other mobile handset, adding weight to the group’s confidence at being able to generate significant revenues from the mobile internet.

“We thought it was a mistake and made our engineers check the logs again,” Vic Gundotra, head of Google’s mobile operations told the Financial Times at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

[From / In depth - Google homes in on revenues from phones]

I completely believe the 50 times number cited in the article. In fact, my own experience last night demonstrated how much much the elegant, yet simple iPhone user experience encourages Google searches.

I sing in my local church choir, and we are currently rehearsing Paul Winter and Jim Scott's Missa Gaia, a rather interesting contemporary jazz mass. As we were listening to a recording of a piece of the work, one of the tenors commented that he wondered how the guitarists were playing these jazz chords listed in the music, especially a D11 chord. I had my iPhone with me, so I popped "D11 chord" into a Google search, clicked the top link, and showed my tenor friend the fingering shown above, all in the course of about 10 seconds using ATT's EDGE network. His jaw literally dropped.

Despite being an ex-Compaq engineer, I don't think my tenor friend expected I could display a guitar fingering on a mobile phone at all or that I'd be able to do so quickly. Yet, for people who own iPhones, the experience is fairly routine, mostly because the iPhone delivers a simple, first-class Web browsing experience. And when things are simple, consumers use them more. It's the essence on what I think of as an Anywhere experience; in this case, it's an Anywhere Web experience.

Some carriers and handset vendors may just think that delivering a simple Anywhere experience is just a nice to have. But I think both Google and AT&T are starting to recognize that Anywhere is actually money in the bank, based on figures cited later in the same article:

If the trend continues and other handset manufacturers follow Apple’s lead in making web access easy, the number of mobile searches will overtake fixed internet searches “within the next several years”, Mr Gundotra said.

Google’s comments echo figures released recently by AT&T and O2, which carry the iPhone exclusively in the US and UK respectively.

In the US, AT&T said average revenue per user for iPhone users was nearly double the average, because iPhone users took large data packages on top of their voice calls.

Said another way, mobile phone companies have two choices: deliver great Anywhere experiences to mobile customers or see consumer dollars flow to competitors who do. It's really that simple.

1 comment:

PK said...

My boy would concur with you, ever since he received his iPod Touch (iPhone not available here yet) he now enjoying the same experience and said it is the ultimate and no mobile phones come close.
When Apple further improve on the features of the iPhone and Touch, Apple will be years ahead of its competitors.