The increasing numbers of smartphones on flat-rate data plans, coupled with ever-improving handsets, is leading to a surge in mobile search, according to comScore.
It has published the results of a survey which show that searching the internet from a mobile phone is gaining in popularity in the United States and Western Europe.
In June, 20.8 million US wireless customers and 4.5 million European subscribers searched from their mobile handset – an increase of 68 per cent and 38 per cent from the year before.
comScore said Google was the dominant mobile search provider, with an estimated 60 per cent share in all countries measured.
Recognising the potential yields from mobile searching, Google has attempted to build up its presence in cell phones.
As a result, the search company is the default search provider for Sprint handsets, the iPhone, and is reportedly in talks to provide mobile search and advertising for Verizon Wireless.
With the first smartphone using Android, the company’s mobile OS, due to be launched shortly, Google’s share of mobile search revenue is certain to increase.
In the US, Yahoo has around 35 per cent of the market and is second to Google in most countries.
The UK tops the penetration rate table for mobile subscribers using search, with 9.5 per cent, followed by the US at 9.2 per cent.
Industry analysts expect penetration to grow in all markets, particularly with US subscribers.
Alistair Hill, a comScore analyst, said that as the number of mobile search users increased so did the frequency of activity.
“The number of people accessing mobile search at least once a week grew 50 per cent in Europe, with France and Spain leading at a rate of 69 and 63 per cent, respectively,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the number of US users accessing mobile search has more than doubled as a result of expanded 3G penetration and smartphone adoption, as well as the proliferation of flat-rate data plans.”
Hill said there had also been a substantial improvement to the mobile search offerings in the US market.
"The number of US users accessing mobile search has more than doubled as a result of expanded 3G penetration and smartphone adoption, as well as the proliferation of flat-rate data plans," he said.
"We have also seen a substantial improvement to the mobile search offerings in the U.S. market."