On Monday morning, two high energy and obviously gadget-loving individuals gave a fast-paced look at the latest mobile search providers and application. The dynamic duo of Gary Price and Megan Fox talked about many of the new “answer engines” for mobile devices—the object is to provide users with answers instead of lists of links.
Many of the new options use the camera feature on a phone to initiate a search. For example, point the camera phone to a street sign and find businesses, restaurants, etc. nearby. It gets around the problem of trying to type on the little gadgets. Other options involve speech-activated searching. Location-based search uses either GPS or WiFi to determine a user’s location and bring back information. And, there’s socially-assisted search that harnesses the popularity of results from other users.
Librarians should see these mobile applications as another way to deliver information to users—another set of tools we need to know and then educate our users about the possibilities. Megan said that slides and links for her presentation will be available at: http://web.simmons.edu/~fox/mobile.
Megan then had an afternoon session on mobile trends that I understand was a complement to the earlier presentation, focusing more on the current hardware available. I suspect the links for that will be posted as well.
Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, ITI