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Right Here, Right Now: When It Comes to Questions, Mobile Trumps the Desktop

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 01:00

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Mobile Consumer study released by and conducted by Harris Interactive®, smart phone users increasingly expect more of their mobile devices than they do their desktops, including timely feedback on local businesses and immediate access to information about places of interest. commissioned Harris Interactive for the study, which was conducted between October 6– 17, 2010 among a nationwide cross section of 1,538 mobile phone users. The release of the study follows the launch of the new mobile app, Ask for iPhone, the first mobile Q&A app to combine search with a live community of real people in an effort to address users' questions. Released in November, Ask for iPhone has seen more than a quarter of a million downloads.

In addition to demonstrating that mobile users expect immediate answers from their mobile devices, the results suggest that people desire more than just listings and standard reviews while on-the-go. Once un-tethered, mobile users are also highly interested in answers to subjective, time-sensitive questions around businesses and places of interest, such as "how long is the wait for a table?"

Detailed findings include:

Mobile Users Have More Questions

  • 66 percent of mobile users said they are more likely to ask timely questions when they are not in front of their computer.
  • More than one-quarter (30%) of smart phone users leverage their mobile phones to access the Web more than they use their computer to access the same information.
  • Mobile apps that deliver specific information and services are on the rise, with 69 percent of smart phone users having downloaded at least one application on their phone.

Local Info Should be Fresh

The study indicates that recency is important for a significant percentage of mobile users when it comes to reviews of local businesses.

  • 40 percent of smart phone users indicated they are more influenced by users' opinions given within the last 24 hours than users' opinions provided a month or so ago.
  • This number significantly increases in the "immediate gratification" 18-24 age bracket, jumping from 40 percent to 67 percent.

People are also interested in information beyond what is available in a static review—moving from historical information to real-time activity when choosing their destination on-the-go.

  • While 55 percent reported interest in searching for local reviews on a mobile device, 68 percent reported a desire to know whether a restaurant is busy at that moment. Population density impacted this concern, with people in the Northeast being much more likely to assign importance to the size of the crowd (76 percent) than those in the Midwest (61 percent).
  • 63 percent reported the current tone of the crowd was important when choosing their destination.

Immediacy is Critical

By a landslide, smart phone users indicated that when looking for information on their mobile device they need it immediately (81 percent overall).

  • The 18-24 year old age group is especially impatient, reporting they need immediate information from their mobile devices 100 percent of the time.


With hands-free driving laws becoming ubiquitous across the nation, the study underscores the importance of users being able to retrieve information while still keeping their hands at ten-and-two.

  • Over one-third (38 percent) of smart phone users need local information more often while they are driving in their cars versus other places.

Connect and Inform

Be it curiosity, voyeurism, or an emergency, mobile users want to know more about what's happening in their immediate surroundings.

  • 40 percent of smart phone users wished they could have found out more about what was happening when they saw a crowd. Combine this statistic with the fact mobile users want immediate, real-time information while on the go, and the research indicates an opportunity for mobile services that deliver up-to-the-minute local information reported by other mobile users nearby.

The full study results can be found here: .  Details about the Ask for iPhone mobile application can be found here .


This survey was conducted by Harris Interactive by telephone within the United States on behalf of between October 6– 17, 2010 among a nationwide cross section of 1,538 adults with cell phones, of whom 511 have a smart phone, 991 have a basic cell phone. For a full methodology, please contact Jenny Davis.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About is the number one online brand for questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI).  The Ask Network of sites is the 4th largest property in the US for unique searches according to November, 2010 comScore data with 92 million domestic unique monthly users. also syndicates search and advertising solutions to a network of affiliate partners.


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