Mobile operators 'not working on Google rival'

Don't have the patience for small-screen search?

Don't have the patience for small-screen search?

Mobile's biggest names are not working on their own search engine to rival giants Google or Yahoo! - despite rumours to the contrary.

The chief executive of the GSM Association, the industry body which represents more than 100 mobile operators around the world, said reports earlier this year that the networks had been planning to come together to create a mobile search engine to cut the internet players out of the game are bunk.

Speaking yesterday at the FT Mobile Media conference, Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association, said mobile operators are hoping to use mobile search from existing experts rather than planning to create their own search engine. "Why do it when someone else could it better?" he said.

But Conway added that despite relying on search companies, operators can't transplant technology designed for PCs directly to a mobile platform.

He said: "It then raises the question - is mobile search different? Is it just like on a PC? Do you want the same experience on a little tiny screen?," suggesting consumers do not have the patience - or the credit in their mobiles - to search through many pages of results on a mobile like their PC-using peers.

Conway added: "Mobile search has to be really, really targeted to bring you something very quickly you want to action."

He believes mobile search is in need of improvement. "Many of us know it's quite fragmented. Much will happen before search comes to fruition," he said, adding that the need for more mobile-friendly search will present opportunities for more specialised mobile search companies.