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July 17, 2007

Is Google's strategy increasingly anti-telecom?

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 12:04 PM

Google's mobile search strategy was the subject today of a story in The Wall Street Journal that hints the Internet giant is becoming even more anti-telecom.

The story said Google is developing technology that will allow it to go beyond just looking up Web pages on the mobile phone and offer a way to search for mobile content, such as ringtones and graphics.

A number of startups have been doing this for a while, including Seattle-based Medio Systems and JumpTap of Cambridge, Mass. Bellevue-based InfoSpace is also a player and Microsoft and Yahoo! are working on technology in the area.

But from what the article says, it sounds as if Google will be approaching the market differently. It is working directly with media companies to compile a database of content and then it will sell the content directly to the user. Users will pay for the content with Google's own checkout account, rather than on their phone bill.

This approach is clearly trying to go around the wireless carrier, which today controls most mobile content sales. That's unlike Medio, JumpTap and InfoSpace, which are all all trying to partner with the carrier.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Google has lined itself up as a competitor to the wireless industry.

In an upcoming spectrum auction, which will be selling valuable wireless broadband airwaves, Google has sided with a company called Frontline Wireless, which argues that competition has been stifled because telecom giants own existing wireless networks.

The governmen, they argue, should create an open network with the spectrum so that entrepreneurs can easily launch applications, thereby better serving the consumer.

There's more information in a blog post here and here and in a story here.

If the FCC chairman and Google get their way, the industry will likely undergo dramatic change -- a situation that will likely be favorable to Google and others.

If the telecom carriers get their way, and the spectrum remains operated by a select number of companies, will Google will become an outcast in the wireless industry?

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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Angel Gonzalez
Angel Gonzalez
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Kristi Heim
Kristi Heim
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Benjamin J. Romano
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