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August 2, 2007

Google Phone Rumors Follow FCC Decision

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Lots of buzz today regarding the Wall Street Journal story that claims Google is cozying up to wireless operators to create a Google-rich phone complete with search, email and other mobile gems, while also developing their own handset at the same time.

Rumor is that those who have seen Google’s phone prototypes (yay, unnamed sources!) say the phone isn’t as "revolutionary" as the glorious fanboy creation. It really doesn’t even appear that Google is all that concerned with the phone’s specifics as long as it comes pre-installed with Google goodies. The WSJ says that Google is more than willing to give up control and allow wireless carriers to create their own phone based on a common set of specifications. Who cares about the phone itself, Google just wants to sell ads.

The WSJ reminds us of a fun Eric Schmidt quote:

“What’s interesting about the ads in the mobile phone is that they are twice as profitable or more than the nonmobile phone ads because they’re more personal,” said Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt at the D: All Things Digital conference in May.

Yup, and that’s exactly what Google is focused on.

Google seems to be hitting mobile pretty aggressively, coming from both ends on this one. You can’t blame them. Local search is growing 40 percent faster than regular search, and mobile is an extension of that. It makes sense for Google to want to be there to try and own the space out of the gate. How else will they be able to snatch up the same disproportionate amount of revenue and market share that they have going with regular search?

At the same time, you have to wonder if they’re pushing too hard and turning off both wireless carriers and users. You know the wireless carriers have to be looking at Google with terror in their eyes. Google’s already invading their turf and causing trouble with the FCC, now you expect them to let Google inside their walled garden? Good luck. Sure, the carriers may get more subscribers by pairing with Google, but it’s not like the Goog is going to share that revenue.

And, of course, as a user, I’m paranoid about the idea of letting Google invade my phone. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m going to send an email, do a search or map something out via my phone, I’m going to use Google 80 percent of the time (Ask’s maps rock), but even I like the illusion that using Google is a choice that I have made out of my own free will. Even if it’s not true, and my Google barcode is showing, please just let me go on thinking that, okay? Don’t try and force it on me.

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