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Yahoo, Dash to offer mobile search services

an image of the Yahoo! logoNow, if you’re cynical, you could argue that Yahoo! are chasing down any niche that comes along.

But if you think about it, there’s a couple of good reasons for Yahoo! to chase this particular niche:

Yahoo! and Dash Navigation have announced plans to offer geo-targeted local ads to users of the Dash Express in-car navigation device.”

First of all, what with Google sitting atop the search market like a prize pig, there’s not much of a search market left to go around.

So for the likes of Yahoo! and the rest, they have to make do with what remains and hope Google experience a blip or two in performance.

Actually, it’s worthing dwelling on some figures for a moment or two [figures]

MSN / Windows Live Search is in a very precarious position right now. Thus far, their year-over-year growth is down 12%, while 4th place AOL Search have a year-over-year growth of 11%

So with MSN / Windows Live Search on 515,526 searches and AOL Search on 389,577 there’s trouble in store for Microsoft if they can’t reverse that trend.

In addition, 5th place Ask.com Search has a year-over-year growth of 33% with 159,586. Granted, that’s half of 4th place AOL Search, but the growth potential is disruptive.

So if these figures hold for any appreciable amount of time, Microsoft could find themselves shifted to a humble 6th position.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Anyway, back to Yahoo! who appear to be very comfortable in 2nd place.

And that’s just it, they’re doing OK. There’s clear blue water between them and 3rd place MSN / Windows Live Search.

With all of the money that Microsoft have at their disposal, Yahoo! are proving to be a nimble adversary.

Nimble in the sense that Yahoo! are canny enough to diversify and hunt down niche search markets and make strategic buys – such as Del.icio.us, Flickr, Konfabulator et al – to strengthen their content offerings.

Which quite neatly brings me to the second reason why Yahoo! are chasing this particular niche – because in-car mobile GPS navigation is only a niche for the time being and is set to grow.

So the thinking is quite sound. And the implementation sounds good, too:

“When a user enters their search term into their Dash Express, the device conducts a Yahoo Local search on the Web over a wireless connection. In many cases, Yahoo Local ratings and reviews are also presented with the listings. Results are formatted into address cards and presented to the user as a listing of nearby businesses, which can be mapped at the touch of a button.”

How many times are you out & about in your car, in a very much un-lost state, but in need of nourishment?

This and other scenarios are exactly the kind of thing Yahoo! has in mind, and I’d hazard a guess and say that this arrangement with Dash Navigation is non-exclusive, too.

Quite a find, wouldn’t you say?

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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