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Ask: Mobile Users Want "Fresh" Information in Real Time

An Ask.com survey, conducted by Harris Interactive (n=1,538 US mobile phone users), finds that user expectations on mobile devices (especially in a local context) are different vs. the PC. The study is intended in part of promote Ask’s Q&A mobile app. But the data also reflect and confirm interesting differences between mobile and PC user attitudes and behavior. The study reveals that mobile users have higher expectations of information and want more “real time” content than they do on the PC.

This makes sense given that the needs and interests of most mobile users are more immediate than their PC-using counterparts. According to a now frequently repeated Microsoft/Bing statistic: 70% of mobile search tasks are completed in one hour (vs. one wk for PC).

Here are some of the (verbatim) top-level findings from the Ask/Harris study:

–66 percent of mobile users said they are more likely to ask timely questions when they are not in front of their computer.

–40 percent of smart phone users indicated they are more influenced by users’ opinions given within the last 24 hours than users’ opinions provided a month or so ago.

–While 55 percent reported interest in searching for local reviews on a mobile device, 68 percent reported a desire to know whether a restaurant is busy at that moment.

–By a landslide, smart phone users indicated that when looking for information on their mobile device they need it immediately (81 percent overall).

Ask has transitioned from being a “search engine” to an “answer engine” or answer community. In that context, it is arguably the most visible among numerous competitors, including Yahoo Answers, Facebook Questions, ChaCha, Quora and now quite a few others.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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