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Web personalization firm goes wireless

Yodlee says its new service will give wireless phone customers access to bank accounts, credit card data, brokerage accounts and email.

Racing with a rival to go wireless, Web personalization start-up Yodlee tomorrow plans to announce a new mobile service.

The company said Yodlee2Go will give wireless phone customers a new window on the Web, allowing them to access bank accounts, credit card information, brokerage accounts, email and other custom online services.

VerticalOne, which offers similar services, recently announced a new version of its software that also promises wireless access.

Yodlee and VerticalOne aim to transform Web navigation by aggregating personal, password-protected account information from numerous sites at a single location.

As content and communications companies scramble to deliver the Net everywhere and anywhere, aggregation services promise to improve the relevancy of wireless Web content, according to Yodlee chief executive Anil Arora.

"Much of the conversation today in the wireless space is focused on protocols, standards, infrastructure. But what users want to know is what kind of value-added content and services they can receive from these devices," he said in a statement.

Whether or not Yodlee and VerticalOne take off, they can't afford to ignore the wireless market.

There were 220 million digital wireless phone subscribers worldwide in 1998 and 150 million Internet users, a Yankee Group study estimates. In about four years, there will be more than half a billion Internet accounts and roughly 1 billion digital wireless phone subscriptions. Internet-enabled "smart phones" are expected to have 48 million users worldwide by 2002 and 204 million by 2005, the research firm reported.