Verizon Communications Inc. VZ recently launched a free consumer search engine with enhanced privacy options to add a new dimension to the search ecosystem. Dubbed OneSearch, the search engine is likely to offer Verizon Media, a division of Verizon that comprises premium brands like Yahoo, TechCrunch and HuffPost, an edge over its rivals.
Initially available in North America on desktop and mobile app, OneSearch offers consumers peace of mind as it neither tracks nor shares personal or search data with advertisers. This ensures customer privacy and prevents any possible data breach or identity theft. With greater control of personal information, customers are likely to gain the confidence to conduct extensive search on the Internet.
Moreover, OneSearch is equipped with Advanced Privacy Mode feature, which when enabled, offers encrypted search results link that expires within an hour. This, in turn, provides an added layer of protection against potential privacy intrusion when multiple users operate on the same device or the search link is shared with other people.
The free search engine is run by an ad-supported platform, wherein advertisements are primarily contextual and based on search keywords rather than cookies or browsing history as is widely prevalent currently. The unbiased and unfiltered search results will offer users greater trust and transparency for unhindered web surfing. OneSearch will be available via mobile app on Android and iOS later this month, and launched in other countries across the globe in the near future.
Verizon is systematically diversifying itself as a major player in the digital content and online advertising space. The company wrote off a majority of its media business — Oath — due to lower-than-expected performance, replacing it with Verizon Media. Over the years, the largest U.S. wireless carrier (by subscribers) has spurred technological innovation and economic development, including introduction of mobile data and making the ecosystem more pervasive with 4G LTE. The company has now embarked on a new operating structure under Verizon 2.0, with the operating model closely aligned with the evolving customer needs. The business transformation is likely to propel the growth engine of the company as the industry witnesses a major upheaval with 5G deployment.
Verizon expects considerable business growth in both its Wireless and Wireline businesses in 2020. The company expects healthy improvement in margins on the back of continued strong FiOS network and strategic services in the Wireline business. The company’s efforts to boost growth include improving operating and capital efficiency. In the enterprise and the wholesale business, Verizon is changing its revenue mix toward newer growth services like cloud, security and professional services. Also, Verizon is looking forward to capitalize on the countless innovative technology solutions being developed in the IoT and telematics ecosystem across multiple industries. Further, the company’s focus on online content delivery, mobile video and online advertising should drive growth.
The stock has gained 3.4% in the past year compared with a rise of 11.4% for the industry.
Verizon presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the broader industry include America Movil, S.A.B. de C.V. AMX, PLDT Inc. PHI and BlackBerry Limited BB, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
America Movil has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 17.2%.
PLDT is currently trading at a forward P/E of 8.9x.
BlackBerry delivered positive earnings surprise of 68.8%, on average, in the trailing four quarters beating estimates thrice.
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