Opera chooses Google as default search in mobile browser

Opera said it will feature Google search on the front page of its Opera Mobile and Opera Mini browsers

Opera Mobile and Opera Mini users will start seeing a Google search bar on their browser start pages, based on an agreement between the companies.

Opera on Wednesday made Google the default search engine on both of its mobile browsers. While Google has been the default option on Opera's desktop browser for seven years, the mobile browser deal is new.

Opera Mobile is the full browser designed primarily for smartphones. Opera Mini consists of a small downloadable client that works on lower-end phones and that communicates with backend servers operated by Opera or in some cases a mobile operator. The servers strip down Web sites for quicker uploading on the phones.

More than 35 million people have downloaded Opera Mini and they browse more than 1.7 billion Web pages each month, Opera said. Much of that traffic comes from the search function in the browser, Opera said.

Opera Mobile has shipped on 100 million phones from manufacturers including Motorola, Sony Ericsson and HTC, according to Opera.

The announcement is another indication of the competition among search providers for a foothold in the mobile market. Google and Yahoo have each wracked up wins recently. The search providers hope to find a new and potentially significant revenue stream from mobile advertising as an increasing number of mobile users access the Internet from their devices.

Nokia recently announced that it will feature Google search on some of its phones. Yahoo also recently recorded a significant win, by replacing Google as the preferred mobile search provider for T-Mobile in Europe. Yahoo also powers search for AT&T.

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