With local offices established in SA, Google has said that mobile will be a priority focus for the search giant in the region. Google continues to expand its mobile offerings worldwide and recently launched AdWords for mobile, allowing advertisers to target users on the mobile web.
“One in six Google searches in South Africa happens on a mobile device. That is the highest ratio in the world,” says Stafford Masie, country manager for Google South Africa.
“Mobile phones today have the same computational power as desktop computers did eight years ago,” he adds. “You have to bet on the trend to mobile.”
Google is manifesting its commitment to mobile in the development of its Android mobile operating system for smartphones. The first Android phone will be available shortly.
“What we are trying to do with Android is bring iPhone-type functionality to the masses at prices they can afford,” says Masie.
“In the shorter term, and in terms of South Africa, we have launched universal search for mobile. SA was the first country in the world to receive this service,” he continues. “Now when you search for something on a mobile device Google no longer just returns web-natural search results, but presents images, videos that can play on a mobile device and geo-based content. We are also seeing that mobile AdWords enjoy a very high click-through rate.”
Google’s focus on mobile is indicative of where things are going and other vendors are bound to follow suit, if they have not already.