Mobile search is an integral aspect of mobile marketing in many respects, but still, mobile browsers inhibit the use due to their core design.
Of course the iPhone and other “full browsing” capable devices do a much better job these days, but looking at the big picture, most devices still in use today feature very limited browsing capabilities compared to the speed of the networks they run on. Even with an iPhone, more searches are performed using search-based apps then with the browser itself, so why is this?
The overall search experience, while all the resources are in place, still isn’t where it should be. The problem lies in the fact that most search engines rely on the publisher of the content to optimize for mobile instead of the search engine itself. Most people start with a search engine when searching for mobile content, which works well, but when directed to content from the SERP, the experience weakens substantially due to the fact that 9 out of 10 websites aren’t optimized for mobile- meaning they’re slow-loading, full of flash and other content not viewable on a mobile device and so on.
The mobile search engine should take care of optimizing the experience for the end-user since it’s the first point of contact for most mobile-Web experiences. SMS search services are becoming ever-more popular due to this fact. It’s much easier, most of the time, to text-in a query and have it returned instantly. Services like KGB and ChaCha are growing rapidly due to this fact, but mobile browsers should make the experience as easy and intuitive as it is on the desktop.
For mobile search to really gain traction, mobile browsers need to get better. The potential for mobile search is huge, but the browsers they run on are limiting their potential.