provider Hutch and software giant Microsoft have come together to provide a search facility to mobile users in India. The service is available to users of the Hutch WAP portal, Planet Hutch.
Hutch subscribers with access to general packet radio service (GPRS) can use Microsoft's Live Search engine. Besides searching within Planet Hutch for images, ring tones, videos and games, users can also search the Internet.
In a statement, Harit Nagpal, marketing director, Hutch, said, "With this initiative, Hutch will provide the entire Windows Live suite of services to its customers over a period of time." Other Windows Live services offered by Microsoft include e-mail, blogs, instant messenger, social networking and personalised home pages. Incidentally, the Planet Hutch portal has been developed by Microsoft.
According to Jaspreet Bindra, country manager, Microsoft Online Services Group, "This service is the first of its kind for mobile users in India. It allows users to discover information or content at the press of a button on their mobile phone. Discoverability will now become the 'killer' application on the mobile phone."
Though there are no advertisers as yet on its search platform, Hutch said it will open up the space for advertisers in the near future.
This is the first time that a service provider is offering mobile search to its users in India. Globally, awareness about mobile search is growing at a rapid pace. A study conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association showed that 30 per cent of mobile users had used mobile search over one month. Closer home, a report by CCID Consulting shows that there were 9.9 million users of mobile search in China in 2006. The number is expected to grow to about 30 million this year.
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