Google, China Mobile Team on Mobile Search

So what if most U.S. carriers won’t touch Google, the king-maker is doing a mobile search deal with the world’s largest wireless carrier, China Mobile. Google will provide its search engine technology for China Mobile’s WAP portal. The partnership has been rumored for weeks, but was officially announced today, and the companies’ say it will be widely available in early 2007.

Google has been signing up deals across Asia for mobile search, and has teamed up South Korean SK Telecom, and Japanese carriers NTT DoCoMo, and KDDI. In Europe Google has partnered with Telefonica, Vodafone and T-Mobile EU. In the U.S. Leap Wireless has been one of the first to warm up to Google’s mobile search. A lot of the carrier deals have been with smaller, early-adopters, but China Mobile’s hundreds of millions of subscribers is a significant win.

Lack of U.S. carriers deals isn’t doing too much damage to Google’s mobile search in the U.S., with about half of U.S. users turning to Google. M:Metrics says out of the 10 million plus subscribers who tried out mobile search in the U.S, Google was used by 5.25 million users. Yahoo had around 4 million users. Our readers experienced the same. Over half of our readers said they use Google for mobile search in our recent poll.

In Korea and Japan, typically hard markets to break into, the carrier deals are key — It’s the same with China. The China Mobile deal is also important because mobile subscribers in China seem to be more accepting of mobile advertisement, or so says the Wall Street Journal this morning, and the mobile is often a better way to reach audiences than PCs. Thanks to China Mobile Google’s mobile search just got in front of a lot more eyeballs.