Google Inc.'s search features will be included within the Opera Mini, a new browser for cell phones due next month from Norway-based Opera Software SSA.

The one-year agreement with Google, unveiled Thursday, also calls for Google to be the default search engine for Opera Mobile, a cell phone Web browser now available from Opera.

The deal is no surprise. Google is also the default search engine for Opera's Web browsers meant for personal computers. In fact, the two companies' ties run so deep that occasionally rumors surface that Google is buying Opera.

From Google's perspective, it's hitching its search features to a cell phone Web browser with a potentially large and loyal audience. That's bound to help Google gain more traction with wireless Web users, which is one place that is so far immune to the search giant's seemingly Midas Touch.

Offered free of charge, the Opera Mini was designed as a simplified version of the firm's other wireless offering, Opera Mobile Browser, which is designed to run on so-called smart phones, or more sophisticated wireless devices that offer the memory to store and run such applications.

When running the Opera browser on a mobile phone, users can click "9" and go straight to Google for searching. On Opera Mini, you'll find an integrated Google search field on the start-up screen.

By signing up with Google, Opera hopes to bolster what is already a popular browser for phones with a high-tech luminary.

Meanwhile, Opera's PC browser has a loyal, but small, following and struggles to maintain its momentum and increase its market share.

Check out eWEEK.com's Search Center for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.

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