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Olympics mobile searches spiking: Yahoo

Yahoo is seeing soaring mobile searches related to every aspect of the Olympic Games, with lookups for mittens, ice rinks and Flying Tomato getting the most attention.

Searches on Yahoo for "ice skating rinks" were up 607 percent last week ? especially among teens. Searches for ?red Olympic mittens,? were up 182 percent last week.

?As you know, handsets and mobile Web browsers are becoming more robust and powerful, delivering an even better consumer experience,? said Zealous Wiley, director of corporate communications at Yahoo, Sunnyvale, CA. ?High-end devices deliver an incredibly robust mobile Internet experience.

?Even the lower-end handsets are capable of allowing users to experience the mobile Internet and allow customers to send and receive SMS search results,? he said. ?As the robust experience becomes more mainstream, adoption will increase.?

Searches on Yahoo are also spiking for music associated with figure skating competitions. The company is seeing searches related to the song choices that skaters are skating to, including a song by Queen and ?the Firebird Suite.?

Vonn facts
The Winter Games? obsession is taking over the mobile Web.

People seem to have caught the winter sports bug and are searching for anything and everything related to the athletes.

Lindsey Vonn is getting a lot of buzz. Her searches were up 1,446 percent this week.

Anticipation of Shaun White's 2010 performance caused spikes on Yahoo not only for "Flying Tomato" but also "Carrot Top."

Searches for ?Shaun White snowboarding? were up 1,921 percent last week.

For fans at the games, Yahoo has built a custom-designed broadcast studio and entertainment center in Vancouver. The venue, dubbed FanCouver, gives fans a chance to participate in Yahoo events and promotions.

FanCouver has seen an average of 10,000 fans a day since the opening ceremonies.

Game for site
Yahoo also launched a new mobile site for the games, providing the latest information, including medal counts, news and expert coverage, live results and athlete profiles.

?One of the challenges is building a search experience that?s meaningful to a user?s situation ? whether they?re on-the-go and looking for a specific answer or killing time in between a meeting or appointment ? both cases need to figure into the product?s ability to deliver relevant information and also allow the consumer to drill down further for additional results or information,? Mr. Wiley said. 

?Understanding the context of the query as well as user intent is much more important on mobile,? he said. ?Consumers are more forgiving of PC-based searches and can easily refine their query to receive more specific information.

?On mobile, if the user doesn?t find the information relevant, they will likely have a less positive user experience, and aren?t nearly as likely to try mobile search in the future.?