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Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Medio to help Verizon search

Seattle Times technology reporter

Verizon Wireless, the second-largest U.S. mobile carrier, plans to announce today it has chosen Seattle-based Medio Systems to help customers wade through the immense amount of data on cellphones to find a ringtone, graphic or game.

The free application, "Get It Now Search," is part of the hot mobile search business.

Because a cellphone's screen and keypad are so small, developers are building services to help users find content faster and easier when scouring through thousands of titles.

The search application, developed by Medio, is designed to help Verizon customers quickly sort across three areas — VZW Games, VZW Tones and VZW Pix. A user can search by artist name, song title, game or application name using voice recognition or keywords.

Jim Straight, Verizon Wireless's vice president of wireless data and multimedia, demonstrated by saying "Black Eyed Peas" into the phone to search for items related to the band of that name.

In a few seconds, several results for both ringtones and graphics popped up.

Straight said the application could eventually tie search and advertising through paid placement in search results. But he expects a lot more opportunities in which search can be used to find digital content, information based on a person's location or general information found on the Web.

Medio is not the only company working on mobile search. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! are all experimenting, as are Bellevue-based InfoSpace and startups like Cambridge, Mass.-based JumpTap.

At CTIA on Tuesday, Alltel Wireless, the fifth-largest U.S. carrier, said it will work with JumpTap on search technology that would allow subscribers to search Alltel's digital content library and the Internet simultaneously.

Mobile and local merchants will be able to purchase placement in the results.

Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or tduryee@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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