Searching the internet using a mobile phone is usually a tedious, expensive experience. Often you might not even find what you're looking for. Yahoo wants to change all this with the UK launch of its new OneSearch mobile internet search service. It launches in 6 countries today, and specialises in targeted searches with a local angle.

Yahoo said OneSearch represents the second generation of mobile internet searches. "We have designed OneSearch especially with mobile users in mind - it's not just a copy of our web search," said Geraldine Wilson, vice president for Yahoo's Connected Life Europe division.

Annoyed users

"We saw that users were getting annoyed with search results that don't fit their screens, and the search engine not giving the results they were after. Yahoo OneSearch is the only mobile internet search facility intuitive to users' needs and which provides relevant, fast, localised results," Wilson said.

For example, instead of displaying a long list of links when you type in the word 'pizza', the service will display the names of relevant restaurants in the area you've specified. It'll also give distance information and contact details. Maps and driving instructions are displayed as well. Cinema listings, event details and traffic reports are to be added in the near future.

Yahoo is also working with mobile operators to arrange for the service to be pre-loaded onto handsets in the future, Wilson said.

100 handsets

The Yahoo OneSearch service currently works with more than 100 handsets, and more are to be added throughout the year. It works best with 3G/HSDPA, but even simpler WAP-enabled handsets will work just as well.

Yahoo has predicted that in 10 years more people will access the internet via their mobile rather than their PC.

A recent report estimated that out of two billion mobile phone users globally, 577 million used mobile internet in 2006. The Informa Telecoms & Media study predicted that this figure will almost triple to 1.45 billion globally in 2011.