Times Internet (Indiatimes) has launched an advertisement-friendly search engine for mobiles. Developed by Unicell Advance Cellular Solutions, an Israel based mobile content aggregator, the service is called Active Search.

In December, TMC reported that Unisurf, a joint venture between Unicell and another Israeli mobile solution developer InfoGin, had signed a deal with Times Group for a search engine service in India. The deal was estimated to be worth $5 million, but Ajay Vaishnavi, Director- Telecom, Times Internet, declined comment on the deal. On the new partnership, he said, “We do have in place a monetization model with Unicell which we can not disclose.”

The Israeli Angle: Unisurf & Infogin

In September last year, the Israel Mobile & Communication Association was in India, and had announced a deal with Shemaroo. We wonder if that visit helped IngoGin and Unicell in any way.

It appears that things have changed since then as InfoGin has entered the Indian market separately. A few days ago, BPL Mobile launched its improved WAP site called @Cafe, which uses InfoGin’s “Intelligent Mobile Platform”. The company claims its customers double their overall portal traffic in less than three months, and reduce their operational costs of creating and managing configurations of mobile devices by more than 80 percent with the platform. Eran Wyler, CEO & Founder of InfoGin, has said, “We are very excited to make our first entry to the Indian market, which is of significant and strategic importance to us as a global company.”

Unicell’s Active Search lets users search for multimedia content from their mobiles using GPRS or SMS. On their mobile browsers, the WAP site www.activesearch.mobi gives them search results for wallpapers, ringtones, etc, which they can then download. Or they can sms ASKMM to 58888 for an offline search. The search is available across all operators in all cities.

Active Search also doubles as a platform for advertisers. An ad is displayed once the keyword is typed till the search results are generated allowing third-party content providers, advertisers, and affiliates flash their services directly to the end users. Vendors can also post content with the search engine’s database, which will drive WAP traffic to their sites. Times Internet will shift its existing clientele of advertisers onto the new platform and expects increased flow of downloads and page views to bring in higher revenues.

We will be updating this post with more on the Active Search experience soon.