May 23rd, 2008 | Published in Google Mobile
We all know that typing on mobile phones can sometimes be a headache -- especially if the phone in question has a small 9-key keypad. On those kinds of devices, we estimate that it takes an average of 40 seconds and 41 key presses to enter a query. When it comes to key presses, that's more than double what it takes on other phones!
In an effort to help our mobile users, we studied the effect of incorporating a feature like Google Suggest on mobile phones with 9-key keypads. We found that these users respond favorably to query suggestions: Users who were shown suggestions while typing their query rated their overall enjoyment higher and perceived workload lower than users who were not shown suggestions. Users who were shown suggestions also reduced their overall key presses by half. Surprisingly, the time to enter a query for these users was not significantly less than the average time needed to enter queries for users who were not shown any suggestions.
You can find a more complete discussion of our results and findings in the PDF version of "Query Suggestions for Mobile Search: Understanding Usage Patterns." It was presented at the CHI-2008 conference last month. Also, we've incorporated Google Suggest on Google's iPhone interface, so try it out if you haven't already!