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Venture Capitalists Bet
Google is Vulnerable in Mobile

stack_of_goldFor many years Google has had a seemingly unbreakable hold on internet search, with competitors like as Bing and Yahoo having a hard time making any gains in the marketplace.

However, search on mobile devices is developing into quite a unique proposition, with differences in content, user expectations, and technologies.

Venture Capitalists are now betting that Google might well be vulnerable in this new area of search. And so they are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of investment into start ups that are targeting mobile search.


For the past decade, common wisdom has prevented start ups from challenging Google on its home turf of internet search. But now a new breed of entrepreneurs are creating companies that attempt to capitalize on the unique properties of mobile to .

mobile_search-1These mobile search start ups have each taken a special angle to try to differentiate themselves. For example, many are trying to extend search into the inside of mobile applications using “deep links”. Others are working to utilize the additional “contextual” information that is provided by mobile – such as location – to try to provide more complete answer to what the user would like to do.

One such startup is Vurb, based in San Francisco. When a Vurb user does a search for a film, the service provides a complete listing with movie reviews, list of cast members, locations to see the film, links to purchase tickets, and even a link to call a cab to get there!

Bobby Lo, founder of Vurb explained, “If I’m searching for a movie, chances are I want to do a couple of things related to that.”

Based on figures from CB Insights (a key source for Venture Capital data), VC’s financed 33 search companies in 2013 and 27 in 2014, with many of them focused on mobile search.

John Lilly is a partner at Greylock Partners, a leading VC firm. He feels that while search is not broken, it certainly can be improved. Quoted in the NY Times, he said “If you ask 100 people whether search is broken or not, 99 would say Google is perfect, it’s everything I need. But if you ask them, ‘How are you going to figure out what you want to watch on TV tonight or where are you going to dinner?’ they would say Google wouldn’t know that, that’s not search.”

(for a more in depth discussion of this topic, read this article in the New York Times)


06.05.2015    Tags: , ,
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