SAN FRANCISCO — Internet powerhouse Yahoo Inc., continuing efforts to extend its reach beyond the desktop, is launching new features Thursday to help mobile phone users plumb its online search engine.
One is a text-messaging feature. Users send a message to "92466" — the numerals used to spell Yahoo on a telephone keypad — and get back direct responses to requests about local businesses, weather and stock quotes. Yahoo also promises to deliver a Web link to get more information about the results.
The feature is initially available to Cingular, Sprint and Verizon subscribers.
In another upgrade, Yahoo is introducing technology that will open up its search engine to mobile handsets equipped with wireless application protocol, or WAP. The ability to call up Web sites found through Yahoo's mobile search previously had been limited unless a handset could read hypertext markup language, or HTML, the format used by Web browsers.
The WAP searches initially are available to Cingular, Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers.
As wireless technology continues to improve, Yahoo and major rivals such as Google Inc. are trying to deepen their ties with their users by developing more features tailored for mobile devices. Both Yahoo and Google depend on attracting huge audiences so they can continue to generate the steady stream of advertising that accounts for most of their profits.
"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area."
-UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer