Google Losing Default Mobile Search Engine Position On Docomo i-mode Portal, A Gate To Half Of Japanese Mobile Web

Japan’s largest cellphone carrier NTT Docomo, which boasts 50% market share on cellphone users, also keeps over 50% share of cellphone web connection services i-mode, announced that they switch their default mobile internet search service from Google mobile search to Goo’s one since April 30th [J].

Until last week, your searching on i-mode portal, iMenu (you can not access without Docomo cellphone mobile browser), gave you three sections of search results.

  1. iMenu Site Kensaku (i-mode official sites search), provided by NTT Resonant(Goo)
  2. Sonota Keitai Site Kensaku (all mobile sites search on the Internet) by Google
  3. PC internet search by Google

The first category is the golden goose both for Docomo and third party mobile contents providers for official i-mode sites (so called “Koushiki Site”).

The latter two have been provided by Google since April 1st 2008 (Docomo’s release [J])

This time, Docomo is trying to change the second category’s search provider from Google to Goo. Goo mobile search has been one of many non-default mobile search on i-mode. User can set to merge the first category and the second category together, both official and unofficial mobile sites result in mixed by settings, too.

Too much search traffic than expected?

However, on the very same night around 11:40 p.m., NTT Docomo and NTT Resonant stops this change, and reverted its mobile internet search back to the original (i.e. Google mobile search). Docomo submitted apology release [J], and it has not been updated yet on May 3rd.

So those NTT group alliance’s attempt to lighten Google’s presence on i-mode started with failure, which is a shame. But the release says that they are working on it to go ahead.

See Also:

Some screenshots with new Goo mobile search on i-mode default, taken on April 30th at mbdb.jp [J]


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@akky is one of the first Japanese pro-bloggers [J]. He also leads Asiajin, writes a tech column on The Japan Times, consults for some foreign companies interested in Japanese web market. (please inquire to akimoto on gmail.com).