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August 18, 2006

Medio tells Telus customers a lot

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 12:54 PM

Seattle-based Medio Systems has received a lot of attention for developing mobile search capabilities, a very hot segment in the wireless industry.

Today, it said it formed a partnership with Telus, which has 4.7 million wireless subscribers in Canada.

In a press release, Medio said Telus Mobile Search is a tool that makes it simple to to find information. The software is free and allows users to search and download music, ringtones, wallpapers, games, flight information, news, sports scores, lottery results, stock quotes, weather, product ratings and price points.

That's a lot of information, but on the surface, what it does is help users make fewer clicks when looking for what they want, according to Brian Lent, Medio's president and CEO.

"Our research and analysis revealed that a large proportion of search queries take users deep into the content libraries, beyond the top 40 results that are found on almost every other carrier's WAP deck," he said. "Trying to find a Led Zeppelin or Frank Sinatra ringtone is virtually impossible when navigating through the dozen or more screens to get there."

For example, if a user searches for a specific Nelly Furtado ringtone, Medio will return ringtones and tracks, sorted by popularity, from every content provider that can be played on that user's handset, and images from her albums. It will also present related content, such as ringtones from Natasha Bedingfield, an artist with a similar style that may appeal to Furtado fans.

Beyond retail items you can buy on the phone, it's interesting to note that users will also be able to comparison shop by entering the ISBN product code for a book or a UPC product code for a game in a store to receive the average user rating and street price for the product. Users will also be able to enter a Canada Post tracking number to determine delivery status.

Sounds like a pretty good product for something that's free. I know carriers are hoping to sell more content by making things easier to find, but it also makes me wonder if there's advertising involved. In April, Medio announced that it had purchased WebRelevance, a company that specializes in matching advertisements with content on Web pages.

UPDATE: Medio just got back to me about if there is an advertising component to the search software. The answer was -- No, "there is not advertising at this point." I suppose that leaves it open for down the road.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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