Yahoo Inc. is recruiting other Web sites to help make its mobile search services more useful for consumers and advertisers, marking another step in the Internet portal’s push to build a lucrative sales channel beyond the personal computer.
Web sites that want their content listed in Yahoo’s mobile search index will be invited to submit material beginning Tuesday. Yahoo also will begin accepting applications from Web sites interested in participating in the Sunnyvale-based company’s advertising network for mobile devices.
Yahoo is looking for more content to feed a three-month-old service called “oneSearch,” which is designed to provide vital information to mobile phone users without requiring them to sift through the stack of results that pile up in a traditional Web search.
OneSearch can be accessed by more than 85 percent of the mobile phones in the United States, according to Yahoo. The company hopes to reach much of that potential audience as it strives to become the early leader in mobile search after struggling for years to catch rival Google Inc. in traditional Web search.
More searches are expected to shift from the traditional PC as nimble mobile devices like Apple Inc.’s widely anticipated iPhone make it easier to look things up on the go. As that happens, advertisers are expected to spend more money trying to peddle their products and services to mobile phone users.
“We think 2007 is going to be a watershed year for the mobile Internet,” said Steve Boom, a Yahoo senior vice president.
Mobile ads are expected to generate about $1.5 billion this year. Within the next three months, Yahoo plans to start distributing some of those ads to other mobile Web sites accepted into its network, Boom said.