Google sees surge in Web use on hot mobile phones

SAN FRANCISCO: Google Inc has seen an acceleration of Internet activity among mobile phone users in recent months since the company has introduced faster Web services on selected phone models, fueling confidence the mobile Internet era is at hand, the company said on Tuesday.

Early evidence showing sharp increases in Internet usage on phones, not just computers, has emerged from services Google has begun offering in recent months on Blackberry e-mail phones, Nokia devices for multimedia picture and video creators and business professionals and the Apple iPhone, the world’s top Web search company said.

“We have very much hit a watershed moment in terms of mobile Internet usage,” Matt Waddell, a product manager for Google Mobile, said in an interview.

“We are seeing that mobile Internet use is in fact accelerating. The growing availability of flat-rate data plans from phone carriers instead of per-minute charges that previously discouraged Internet use, along with improved Web browsers on mobile phones as well as better-designed services from companies like Google are fueling the growth, Waddell argued. Google made the pronouncement as it introduced a new software download for mobile phones running Microsoft Corp’s Windows Mobile software that conveniently positions a Google Web search window on the home screen of such phones.

Similar versions of the search software which Google introduced for Blackberry users in December and certain Nokia phones in February have sped up up the time users take to perform Web searches by 40 per cent and, in turn, driven usage.

The software shortcuts the time it takes for people to perform Web searches on Google by eliminating initial search steps of finding a Web browser on the phone, opening the browser, waiting for network access, and getting to Google.com. By making a Google search box more convenient, mobile phone users have begun using the Internet more, the company said.”

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