Google mobile searches now outstrip those from PCs

The search giant has confirmed that mobile searches tower over those from computers in 10 different countries but was mum on more specific details.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Mobile searches are outshining those from PCs in several countries, says Google. Google

Google now sees more searches from mobile devices than from PCs, the company said in a blog posted on Tuesday.

"Billions of times per day, consumers turn to Google for I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-do, and I want-to-buy moments," the search giant said in its latest Inside AdWords blog. "And at these times, consumers are increasingly picking up their smartphones for answers. In fact, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan."

The changeover was inevitable. Over the past few years, people have increasingly been using mobile devices over PCs to check email, surf the Web and use the Internet in general. The growing dominance of mobile is key not just to users but to advertisers and website developers, all of whom must make sure their content is mobile-friendly. Last month, Google even tweaked its search algorithm for mobile devices to reward sites deemed mobile-friendly and potentially penalize those that are not.

Google attributed the comment about more searches taking place on mobile devices to its own internal research. But the company didn't reveal much beyond that one statement. What are the other eight countries? Do these searches include those coming from Google's mobile app, those coming from the device's mobile browser, or both? And by mobile devices, does Google mean just smartphones or tablets as well?

Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment. But one of those questions may have an answer. The company apparently groups tablets with desktops for its search data, according to blog site Search Engine Land. So Google's data would include just smartphones and not tablets.

And even without knowing the other countries, the US and Japan are two of the biggest technology markets around the world. So their presence on the list alone accounts for a healthy chunk of mobile searches.

Google made its comment in the context of changes being rolled out to its AdWords platform, which advertisers use to create ads that appear among the company's search results. In light of the rising tide of mobile searches, Google has introduced some new innovations for those that use AdWords.

As one example, car makers can now take advantage of Automobile Ads, a new search ad format that shows a user a gallery of images displaying the inside and outside of a car. Hotels can now tap into Hotel Ads, which can show the prices for different locations. And people searching for a mortgage will be able to find rates from different providers.

People surfing and searching on mobile devices are often on the go and therefore don't want to wait a long time to find what they need. So the new innovations unveiled by Google are designed to quickly move the user from the search results to the actual content. As one factor, ads that appear on mobile devices are designed more for swiping than mouse clicking, resulting in a faster experience.

"Consumers, particularly on mobile devices, now have higher expectations than ever before -- they want everything right, and they want everything right away," Google said in its blog. "This requires that marketers answer their needs in the moment, whenever and wherever they are. Our investments in mobile are driven by consumers' expectations for immediacy and relevance in the moment."