Google and Opera Make a Mobile Search Connection

December 30, 2005 0

Google will supply the default search function for Opera Software’s mobile browsers, the company announced. Opera Software supplies two separate browsers for mobile and wireless devices.

Opera Software’s Opera Mini browser, a mobile browser is due for formal unveiling next month.

In a statement, Opera said: "Google will be the default search partner for the mobile browsers: Opera Mobile and Opera Mini."

 The one-year agreement with Google, unveiled recently, also calls for Google to be the default search engine for Opera Mobile, a cell phone Web browser now available from Opera.

It is of great importance to have a search partner on board before the announcement, said Christian Jebsen, Opera’s COO, said in a telephone interview. The deal is no surprise. Google is also the default search engine for Opera’s Web browsers meant for personal computers. In fact, the two companies’ ties run so deep that occasionally rumors surface that Google is buying Opera.

We have been exploring different ways to make the product user-friendly. If you press the 9 (button), it takes you right to Google for searching. On Opera Mini, users will find an integrated Google search field on the start-up screen.

From Google’s perspective, it is hitching its search features to a cell phone Web browser with a potentially large and loyal audience. That is bound to help Google gain more traction with wireless Web users, which is one place that is so far immune to the search giant’s seemingly Midas-Touch.

Jebsen said users of Opera Mini can still use the more established way of accessing a search engine, simply by calling up book-marked search engines. He noted that Opera is comfortable with Google as a partner because it has had a good working relationship with the search colossus for several years.

While Opera has not been charging users for its Mini browser, Jebsen said the firm has been exploring revenue-generating options and the arrangement with Google should eventually bear fruit in that regard.

Opera Software supplies two major browsers for mobile and wireless devices. Earlier this month, Opera quietly released a preview of its Opera Mini. Early user reaction has generally been complementary. Complete details will be reported at next month’s unveiling of Opera Mini.

Offered free of charge, the Opera Mini was designed as a simplified version of the firm’s other wireless offering, Opera Mobile Browser, which is designed to run on so-called smart phones, or more sophisticated wireless devices that offer the memory to store and run such applications.

The Mini version operates on WAP-equipped cell phones, while the more robust Opera Mobile version is generally offered as an add-on to mobile and wireless devices for a small user fee.

Opera has been battling rumors of an acquisition by Google. Earlier this week, Opera put down more rumors of an acquisition by Microsoft by saying it was not for sale.

Meanwhile, Opera’s PC browser has a loyal, but small, following and struggles to maintain its momentum and increase its market share.

By signing up with Google, Opera hopes to bolster what is already a popular browser for phones with a high-tech luminary.