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Webaroo aims to make mobile search relevant

The so-called mobile Internet is neither conveniently mobile, nor completely the Internet. Mobile devices hardly have the display or storage to support a rich Web experience, and mobile networks are not ubiquitous, high-bandwidth or cheap enough to support an always-connected browsing experience. Still, we've come to expect quick access to information. So even while we're frustrated by it, we put up with a fairly poor mobile Web experience.

This situation is what Seattle-based Webaroo hopes to change with the mobile search software and service it has launched. Webaroo effectively lets you carry the Web on any Windows Mobile 5 handheld device or mobile phone.

While it is nearly impossible to compress billions of Web pages onto a handheld device, Webaroo uses a smart search algorithm optimized for "maximum content density," according to co-founder and head technologist Beerud Sheth. The Webaroo search methodology first spiders the Web, then selects relevant pages that will give the best – if not all – results. Results and related Web pages are bundled by subject into "Web packs" on a variety of subjects, from news to travel destinations. Users select Web packs to download to their mobile devices, and are then able to search and read pages, even while not connected to the Internet.

The device-based content is refreshed each time the user connects to the network, ensuring that the mobile content remains fresh and relevant.

The smart algorithm and clever packaging lets Webaroo provide relevant results to both repetitive, common queries and to the random requests that make up the "long tail" of search queries.
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While it has been optimized for handheld devices, Webaroo will quickly become a must-have for laptop users. In fact, Acer has signed on as a first partner of the start-up and will bundle Webaroo software on future laptop shipments.

The service is free – try it out by downloading the software here. In time, the company says it will support the service through advertising. The mobile focus of Webaroo, and the relevance of its search results, should make it a highly valuable advertising medium.

Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld's DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at chris@demo.com. Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the No. 1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.

This column was reprinted with permission of Network World Inc. All registered trademarks are owned by IDG. More information can be found at http://www.idgef.com.

Copyright 2006 IDG. All rights Reserved

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.

Comments

Mallikarjun responded 8 years ago: #1

Hi Shipley, Currently Webaroo runs on Win Mobile 2003 SE and not on Win Mobile 5 as you mentioned in the article. Webaroo says Win Mobile 5 is on its way. Thanks

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