Local Search And Mobile Search Is Fast Morphing Into a Web 3.0 Online Marketing “Perfect Storm”

As we all settle and get our sea legs back in the new, Web 2.0 online marketing environment, those of us who will thrive I suspect are the firms who are already keeping a sharp eye on the horizon for the sea change that will be Web 3.0. For the small business or large firm that is already coming to terms with the burgeoning traffic that is streaming through their doors – whether the doors lead to their website or their ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retail establishment – adopting and adapting to Web 2.0 has meant they have come to terms with and embraced the emergence of their customers’ or clientele’s radically enhanced local search and mobile search capabilities. Increasingly techno-savvy patrons want to be able to send the key words for what it is they are looking for out to the world-wide Web and be directed to the products and services that are conveniently available to them where they are, wherever that is in the world – whether that is right down the block they live on in Leeds, in downtown London, or across the world in Lebanon or Kuala Lampour.

When Google CEO, Eric Schmidt sat down with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo recently, he extolled the virtues of being able to pull out his handheld mobile, key “in Starbukcs” and immediately have Google Maps directions to the nearest outlet where he could purchase a cup of Starbuck’s finest. As Nokia, Apple, RIM and other leaders in handheld technologies come out with mobile phones and hand helds that are functioning ever more similarly to a cumbersome laptop – and as Google, Amazon and Microsoft work away at getting the files and data we currently store on our hard drives lodged in the ethernet through “cloud computing” (where programs and the data will be stored far off-site on vast data and server farms instead of on our actual computers) – the ability of end users to creatively use technology to access the best, most innovative and locally convenient services and products will be almost incomprehensibly enhanced. This is Web 3.O . . . and this is what the most forward thinking Web 2.0 online marketing aficionados are already trying to figure out how to tap into.

The Spring 2008 edition of tq Magazine, a review of IT strategies for business produced by The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading newspaper daily, observes that even amongst those of us who will not admit it, “geek envy” still flourishes. Whereas the allure and status of having a mobile phone has waned as economies in Europe, North America and elsewhere approach near 100% coverage and everyone seems to carry or have access to mobile technology- even 11-year olds, who carry a pay-as-you-go to keep in touch with parents and friends – having the latest mobile search screens, video components, media players and so forth on our web-adapted mobile ‘phone’ has not. It is not only large businesses at the cutting edge of technology’s latest trends but small businesses and mid-size firms that are recognizing they will have to prepare themselves for an ever larger slice of their revenue originating in digital search, and that the digital search itself is evermore apt to be premised on local search terms and key words, while being keyed in from a mobile source.

Currently, Google accounts for about 85% of all searches in the UK, and 1 in 7 of these searches is on Google’s UK search page. When one breaks that down further and includes locale specific terms that are typed in – ‘Bristol camera shop’, ‘Devon cottage rental’ etc. – the percentage of local searches soars. With Google Maps and Yahoo! Maps pinpointing where to find local wares and services, the potential for revenue growth should makes the case for ensuring one’s business site and establishment are findable by the search engine giants a top Web 2.0 business priority. As Web 3.0 technologies emerge, combining current technologies with “cloud computing” capability and every mobile phone’s capacity to have its location precisely detailed through the built in GPS technology that already exists, the move from staid old laptops and redundant desktops to hand-held, text and audio-capable computing and search ready mobiles becomes inevitable.

“Today’s mobile is not your father’s phone,” tq Magazine notes. It concludes, and rightly so it seems, that with mobiles fast “morphing into a computer with telephony features”, Web 3.0 will not only be about the availability of democratized information – whether for entertainment, shopping or business – but will be “about all that, anywhere, where mobility and connectivity converge with our lifestyles.” As technologies, mobility and lifestyles collide and merge into the perfect storm that will be Web 3.0 – and they will – it is those small businesses and large businesses that have gotten their sea legs in Web 2.0 and are already unfurling their sails to catch the renewed prevailing winds of Web 3.0’s technological change that will be propelled forward. Now is the time where large and small businesses want to ensure that their websites and online domains are up and running, optimized to take their business forward as Web 3.0 picks up strength. Otherwise, stay in port. . . .