Microsoft will be adding new capabilities to its mobile search app, Windows Live Search Mobile, later this Spring. These will include the ability to map a contact, download custom maps from Virtual Earth onto your PC and any phone running Windows Mobile, and access integrated Web search and local weather (click on screen shots below). Blackberry users will be able to conduct searches by speaking into their phone, a feature already available for Windows Mobile phones.
The mapping features are the most interesting part of this announcement. Any contact you have an address for can be placed on a map. And if you want to create your own custom maps with virtual push pins marking places you want to visit, for instance, the Virtual Earth integration should come in handy.
Google and Yahoo also have their own mobile apps. Google offers mobile versions of Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube and search (not to mention my favorite Google mobile product—free directory assistance via GOOG-411).
But of the three big Web companies, Yahoo offers the most mobile functionality in Yahoo Go (maps, local search, Yahoo Mail, Flickr, weather, finance, sports, and news). And with Yahoo Go 3.0, which is now available, you can customize what you get by choosing which widgets you want (for instance, MySpace, eBay, and MTV News offer widgets on Yahoo Go 3.0). This is the start of Yahoo’s OneConnect strategy to link your phone to your social networks and the Web. If Microsoft buys Yahoo, its mobile efforts will get a big boost.