October 24, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

In search of the Google phone

In search of the Google phone
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Searching for the Google phone is a lot like hunting for Bigfoot.

Rumors of a Google phone, or "Gphone" for short, have circulated since late 2004 and hit a fever pitch over the last few months, according to a handy timeline on the Search Engine Land blog.

There's speculation that Google might drop some hints at its analyst day on Wednesday, but until now Google executives and spokespeople have refused to comment, or even confirm, if Gphone is the name of a product many believe the search giant to be working on.

Often, where there's smoke there's fire. And what do the smoke signals--and Google patents--say? Unlike Apple's iPhone, the Gphone probably won't be an actual hardware device. Instead, it's more likely to be a bundle of software and supporting infrastructure that allows a phone manufactured by someone else to access Google services, experts say.

Google will probably partner with France Telecom's mobile-telephony division Orange and KDDI in Japan, says Stephen Arnold, author of The Google Legacy and a new book, Google Version 2.0: The Calculating Predator. Arnold has researched Google's patents and found more than a dozen that relate to mobile telephony.

"There is going to be a Google phone as a reference device, probably more than one," Arnold told CNET News.com. "They will hook into the Googleplex to deliver functionality that ranges from 'search without search' (information that anticipates what someone may be looking for), to mapping and calendar services. Google is positioned to move different ways in response to market behavior."

Google patent

UBS analyst Arthur Hsieh believes that Taiwanese handset maker HTC will ship 50,000 or so handsets by year's end to developers with the Gphone operating system, according to a recent research note. That's a sliver of the nearly 1.4 million iPhones that have been sold so far, of course, but it's a start.

It's likely the Gphone will be advertising-supported given that the company has filed a patent application for advertising-supported telephony, Arnold said. Not only has Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt expressed interest in the notion of subsidizing the cost of phones with advertising, but the company offers ads on its mobile applications today, said Greg Sterling, principal at Sterling Market Intelligence.

Look for applications like "search, mapping, communications like Google Talk instant messaging," with ads, said Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research. "That's their business model, selling ads."

Don't expect a fancy touch-screen interface that would compete with Google partner Apple's iPhone and drive up the cost of the Gphone, experts said. Google may try to do a better version of the Windows Mobile device, only cheaper. If the iPhone is a Lexus, the Gphone will probably be a Honda, particularly if it's supported by advertising.

Offering a low-cost or subsidized device would also fit in with the company's strategy to leapfrog with wireless technology in emerging markets, analysts said. "There are going to be a billion or more mobile-phone subscribers in the next few years, and these are people who not only have never used a mobile phone before, but also have never used the Internet before," Golvin said. "Their first experience of the Internet is likely to be on a mobile phone, not a PC."

"I tend to feel it will be an operating system and they'll partner with a handset company," said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land. "There will be a Google phone. It will be mini-computer-like, the same way that the Windows Mobile Device is."

CONTINUED: Gphone on the battlefield?…
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Google GPhone?
Google's wireless plans and its rumored "Gphone" have been the topic of many articles and blogs. We have to take a closer look at several Google initiatives to get a better understanding of what Google's "Master Plan" is really all about.

First of all, few may know that Google is the largest controller of dark fiber in the world. Dark fiber, as defined by Wikipedia, is "the name given to individual fibers that have yet to be used within cables that have been already laid. They are hence not yet connected to any device, and are only there for future usage." Google has been buying up dark fiber since the dotcom collapse of the early 2000s when telcos overbuilt their networks in anticipation of the internet boom. Google's strategy is to build out its own Global IP Network, be less dependent on telcos and save billions of dollars in the long run. By forecasting its bandwidth needs, Google knows that it's not only cost-effective to build out its own Global IP Network, but even more importantly, such a move will give Google full control of its own network infrastructure. This is known as a "vertical integration" strategy that is practiced by many of the world's largest multi-national companies. In fact, Google recently announced that it's planning a multi-terabit undersea communications cable across the Pacific Ocean. The cable will connect the U.S. to Australia via Hawaii, and it's said that it will dramatically cut data transmission cost to many of the Pac Rim countries.

Now that Google has its Global IP Network infrastructure initiative in full gear, what will the company do? Well, Google recently announced that it has set aside $4.6 billion to bid on the upcoming 700MHz wireless auction. The 700MHz wireless spectrum is currently owned by broadcasters and has been used for analog television. The 700MHz spectrum will be highly sought after for it has the unique qualities of long distance transmission and the ability to deliver broadband communications that can penetrate walls. Google recently announced that it may also be interested in bidding on a 900MHz & 1800MHz wireless spectrum in the UK. Google might be planning to start its own mobile service in the UK or establish an open wireless-broadband network as it is trying to do in the U.S.

With its wireless initiatives in play, Google has hired Andy Rubin, founder of Danger and the "Sidekick" to head the 100+ Gphone team. According to Venture capitalist Simeon Simeonov, Google's Gphone is codenamed "Switch" and is using wireless technology from two companies Google acquired, Skia & Reqwireless. Google partnered with Samsung earlier this year, giving it the ability to be a potential distributor/handset maker. Switch is a "BlackBerry-like device," according to Simeonov, running Java on a C++ core with perhaps a Linux bootstrap.

So how do we make "Google Sense" out of all this? Well, I believe that if Google is successful in its bid for the 700MHz wireless spectrum, it will launch some very innovative products and services, one of which will be a wireless IPTV service to the premise via set-top box connected to a $100 Network computer. This computer will have no hard drive; all windows type applications will be hosted on Google's servers. Google has already filed for a patent that will enable users to make payments at stores using their mobile devices. This service is going to be called GPay. Even more compelling, I anticipate Google launching an ad supported mobile "video" phone that will rival Apple's iPhone. If Google is going to become a mobile provider and take on Apple?s iPhone, the company will need to have a compelling service offering. If its bid for the 700MHz wireless spectrum is successful, launching an ad supported video Gphone will not be hard to do. I can see it now, being on a "video call" while ads stream across the bottom of the Gphone screen.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://imediaconnection.com/content/16767.asp" target="_newWindow">http://imediaconnection.com/content/16767.asp</a>
Posted by NevilleColaco (1 comment )
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pure speculation, but a somewhat educated speculation, based on recent hirings, and patents that the g-phone will be a linux based software voip solution. basically sell you phone and a data plan and you need not pay for anything else. Maybe far fetched, but so is google. A billion plus company based on text ads.
Posted by DrtyDogg (3084 comments )
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Google Phone
After reading Walter Mossberg's recent article in the Wall St. Journal which was an impassioned argument to free cellphones from carriers, I think Google could create a welcome revolution. Their ideas as outlined in your article are really great. Go, Google!
Posted by annlandau (3 comments )
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gPhone overhyped
gPhone, if debuted, won't be ubiquitous.
Reasons are
1) Google is a minor in Asian markets, like China, Korea and Japan. I wonder if Google can
pursue its dominance in mobile multimedia in view of cladogentic evolution of mobile broadband equipment,applications and services.

2) Cultural and liguisitic barriers.
3) Content divide between emerging markets and digitally mature markets.
4) In location-based service, which will constitute the core of mobile multimedia, Google's web search dominance won't be easy to retain.
5) fierece competiton lurking ahead. It is a cloudy landscape, when it comes to the first generation of LBS. The 2nd generation of LBS will
shift its domain to vehicle dashtops.
Posted by Quemannn (76 comments )
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In the past 2 weeks I've done some personal and business shopping on the Internet, with the help of GOOGLE. Not only did I find what I was seraching for, I found these products in my own home town, bottom buck prices, sufficient varieties, awesome values, and in two of the searches, before I entered the "key words" GOOGLE'S product search, provided me with the query results before I clicked "GO." How in GOD'S name is this possible - how can any mechanical, alphanumeric formula think and give me the results BEFORE I ORDER IT TO SWING AWAY? This tehcnology, or real time Nostradamus Ingenuity gives me GOOGLE FLESH. I tingle - I fill up with a wholesomeness that almost brings tears to my eyes. How is this possible? How can a search engine know in advance exactly what I am searching for?

With this type of mystical, magical power to see the future, I for one, want the GPhone, however, I'm not going to get ANTSY about this device because knowing what I already know about GOOGLE their device will FIND ME.

I read this article very carefully, and the most astonishing "tricks" of what is on the GOOGLE Horizon is the GPhone's ability to monitor Heart, Pulse, and save lives.


As for Voice Recognition - I can see the future. Corporations are already putting packages together featuring separate devices that SPEAK YOUR PROPER LANGUAGE AND CAN BE HELD NEXT TO THE SPEAKER IN ORDER TO ENSURE A TIGHT AND AUTHENTIC ROBOT TO ROBOT COMMUNICATION. OTHER CORPORATIONS ARE PUTTING TOGETHER ACCESSORY PACKAGES INCLUDING THE THE 'SPIT TUNE" - which is a package of alcohol based wipes in order for the user, the caller, to clean off the speaker on his/her cell phone after using Voice Recognition to say the following "Option TWO, my account is TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TEN!"

So, as Voice Recognition continues its worldwide growth, and mistakes happen, and we all have to LEARN to SPEAK PROPERLY TO THE ROBOT BEHIND OUR HANDS.........WHAT IS REALLY NEEDED?

Answer: A GPhone that is enabled to remember what YOU SOUND LIKE when you say numbers, your name, your accounts, your address, your date of birth, the end result being that the ROBOT behind your hand will be listening to a PROPER RECORDING of your voice, stored in the new GPhone. AND, you will activate each Digital recording of your data in PROPER LANGUAGE by selecting a keypad number. SIMPLE - EFFECTIVE - PRECISE - NO MEDALS - JUST INGENUITY and PRACTICAL.

BUT WAIT! Did you ask what happens if the Gphone is lost, will anyone be able to access your stored information and make a call to the bank using your stored data and voice recognition. Will never happen, because a true Gphone will be able to sense your skin, your fingerprints, your pulse, and in the hands of any other person, will be disabled.


Thank you for this opportunity to TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK - this has been a recording.
Posted by FO-FI_FO_454 (25 comments )
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Bring on the GPhone!
This coupled with Google's buying that radio spectrum and forcing cell phone carriers to unlock their phones and allow people to download whatever they want and use the phones on whatever carrier they want really makes me want to see a GPhone. Google would be the coolest cell phone carrier ever. We would be able to use the phones online just like we do our PCs, with no restrictions on what we could download or what sites we could visit.
Posted by OmegaWolf747 (431 comments )
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Eric Schmidt is the biggest Mafia puppet in the US. He is bad news for apple users. http://endmafia.com
Posted by geo11101 (76 comments )
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I think I wouldn't mind trying a google phone. Would you be able to use it as a <a href="http://www.californiaseopros.com/about/">search engine optimizer</a>?
Posted by bills8091 (4 comments )
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