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Google Businesses The Internet Communications

The Google Phone? 85

Posted by kdawson
from the move-over-apple dept.
VE3OGG writes "There has been ample hype over the last several years that Apple's iPhone was just around the corner. (Though a product named iPhone was just recently released by Cisco / Linksys.) Well, while Apple fans continue to salivate at the thought of a phone powered by the company-of-cool, the index-everything-while-doing-no-evil company may be setting itself up to produce their own Google phone in partnership with Orange."
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The Google Phone?

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  • From the article:
    The device would not be revolutionary: manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese firm specialising in smart phones and Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), it might have a screen similar to a video iPod.
    Can't wait to get my hands on one!
    • by jonbryce (703250)
      I pretty much already have my hands on one as far as I can see. It is from O2 rather than Orange, but Orange sell exactly the same thing with a slightly different name.

      It is a handset made by HTC, and I can get pretty much everything on it with the bundled Internet Explorer, including a lot of Google stuff, and for the sites that don't work on Internet Explorer, I have installed Mozilla.
  • by bogaboga (793279)
    ...then Google TV will not be very far off, though I wonder why company and government officials always decline confirming or denying so called rumors. Some like those in our [US] government will simply say "no comment!"
    • by SheeEttin (899897)
      Google doesn't like rumors to get out any more than they must. They don't want people to say, "Oh, Google's going to have HD TV running on fiber within the next two years" because that's probably not going to happen.
      • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@OOOopto ... inus threevowels> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:27AM (#17325772) Journal

        But then again, I think they do like rumors getting out, at least ones that are false, as it keeps their competition guessing, and may get them to sink money into areas Google isn't going to compete with them in. Disinformation can be mighty useful in the corporate world.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by krakelohm (830589)
          True, but there is the downside of customers or potential customers getting excited about false rumors. Most of the time products that actually come to fruition are no match for the fantastic rumors that fly wildly. Apple has this problem quite a bit.
          • by FLEB (312391) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:35PM (#17331626) Homepage Journal
            So the best thing to do is start rumors about things you have no interest in whatsoever, to have no chance or intent of competing with your own hype.

            So, Google Automotive-- what's the word?
          • Most of the time products that actually come to fruition are no match for the fantastic rumors that fly wildly. Apple has this problem quite a bit.

            Yeah, those quad xeons sure disappointed a ton of people, and Apple's share price action over the last five years is a real strong indicator of a general dissatisfaction with their hardware, software, engineering, resale value, etc... unh huh, right.

            Were you the guy that greeted the rumor of an mp3 player from Cupertino with "Why, there's plenty of those, alr

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      though I wonder why company and government officials always decline confirming or denying so called rumors

      Well, among things, a company like Google is actually owned by its investors, and shares are publicly traded. The SEC gets very, very testy (as do litigious shareholders and their parasitic lawyers) when a publicly traded company does anything that can be construed as falsely painting a picture of business prospects that might impact the value of a share in the company.

      In short, regulations and la
      • by Suhas (232056)
        when a publicly traded company does anything that can be construed as falsely painting a picture of business prospects that might impact the value of a share in the company.

        Tell that to Microsoft
    • I don't think Google is doing this for the purpose of enabling fancy feature X or getting its hands in TV/radio/whatever distribution.

      The real killer is that right now the vast majority of Google's users are able to use Google's service thanks to the Microsoft monopoly providing said user with an OS and/or browser. If I were Google, (secret) priority #1 would be to sidestep Microsoft as soon as possible.

      If Google can give people usable cell phone based interfaces to its services, then all Google has to wor
    • by dangitman (862676)
      In the future, we will all have a giant physical copy of the letters G-o-o-g-l-e in our living rooms. They can be reconfigured for any purpose - as furniture, TV, games, sex toys, telephones, hula hoops, etc. That's what all those shipping containers are for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:43AM (#17325254)
    Type in 'pizza' and press "I'm Feeling Lucky".
  • So, an internet-enabled phone that isn't total rubbish at it? Sounds good to me.
    I wonder exactly how much of the software Google will be writing, because as more mobiles become internet-capable it seems to me that making viruses for them can start to make sense. I don't think most mobile software is all that secure, but I'm thinking if Google has a stake in it, it will at least be secure *enough.*
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by asliarun (636603)
      From TFA, it looks like the Big G is mainly focusing on optimizing bandwidth by compression, and i'm guessing, by using a Google proxy. On a side note, I think that two of the biggest problems with surfing the internet via a cellphone are
      1. Small display
      2. Input interface

      The first is getting bigger, but there's only so much room to grow, especially if you want to keep the form factor within reasonable limits so that the damn thing will fit in your pocket.

      Regarding the second, i was thinking that it might be
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sciros (986030)
        Well they're good ideas in any case. Something along the lines of a Nintendo DS screen would be ideal, as that is one of the better touch-sensitive screens out there as far as I know. Voice recognition software... well, Google ought to have the best out there given their vast amount of available training data for speech processing.

        OMG a thought for the future (and yes Google is the closest to making this a reality): voice recognition matched with machine translation matched with sophisticated voice synth
      • by CmdrGravy (645153)

        i was thinking that it might be a good idea to have a good voice recognition software to do the user input instead of using the microscopic cellphone buttons
        You think I'm going to sit on the train yelling

        "hardcore asian hotties"
        "damn phone, H-A-R-D-C-O-R-E A-S-I-A-N H-O-T-T-I-E-S !"
        "Engage ! E-N-G-A-G-E Dammit !"

        Not likely.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moresheth (678206)

        Another thing to note is that most websites aren't set up for mobile devices yet.

        The good thing is that it can be done easily, and everything's in place for it to happen. It's one of the reasons that everyone gets excited about table-less designs. All it takes is a separate stylesheet to make your website formatted for a tiny iPod-sized screen.

        Now all we need is for everyone to start making websites properly.

        • Any links? I found
          http://www.mikeindustries.com/blog/archive/2005/07 /make-your-site-mobile-friendly [mikeindustries.com]
          about server-side preprocessing to remove crud, but did you have something else in mind?
          Rewriting it all in XML or WML is not very feasible for most sites...
          • by moresheth (678206)

            Not sure if you, or anyone else, will see this, but I figured I'd respond in case you do.

            There are multiple ways. The main one I was thinking about was simply defining a "handheld" stylesheet. For websites, the common way someone is going to view it would be using the "screen" media type. But you can also define other media types, like "print", "projection", "aural", and other things. You can find a list of them in several places [w3.org]. The one for mobile devices would be "handheld." The idea is that the conten

            • Thanks for the updates. Slashdot might be using a handheld stylesheet, but it's pretty difficult to use on my phone - scrolling for miles to get to the content, if the browser doesn't just give up.
              As you (and other commentators) say: just changing the presentation isn't enough, on a mobile you probably want to do much more drastic things like:
              - make the pages physically much smaller
              - remove most of the navigation
              - possibly move the remaining navigation to separate pages
              - structure the content differently
              It'
      • Voice recognition wil never fly in software. it's waaay too computationally expensive. It'll take silicon to make it viable. only now with 2-4 cores the CPUs are going to get there in terms of processiong power to do it real time , and maybe leave a core available to keep the system responsive. And to make it happen in a mobile device, well you will need it in silicon for sure. That gies us one other type of core to dream about in AMD's fusion, a voice recognition processing unit...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RESPAWN (153636)
          I would really like to know what exactly you are referring to when you speak of voice recognition. My phone (LG vx9900, aka LG enV) has voice recognition for a list of commands. In fact, the amazing thing to me compared to my last phones is that I haven't had to train it. It's able to parse the name I speak and match it to a name in my address book with about 90% success rate. Note that this includes several friends with names that the phone itself has trouble pronouncing. Which brings me to the other inter
      • The first is getting bigger, but there's only so much room to grow, especially if you want to keep the form factor within reasonable limits so that the damn thing will fit in your pocket.

        Earth Final Conflict global communicator [movieprop.com] (bottom of page) Obviously this is just the prop without the special effect, but with a flexible screen that rolled up into the handle, we could have decent size displays in devices that fit comfortably in a pocket.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RESPAWN (153636)
        Or we could all just get phones with built-in QWERTY keyboards. I've never been a huge fan of text recognition software -- my handwriting is so bad that I always had issues on my Palm. Now that I've bought a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, I rarely carry my PDA. It's a heck of a lot easier to type out a note to myself on the keyboard than it ever was to write it on my Palm PDA. It's also a heck of a lot easier to enter data on websites with a full keyboard. :)
      • by jonbryce (703250)
        They have already done it. Since TFA mentions Orange, I'll link to their offering - http://shop.orange.co.uk/shop/show/handset/orange_ spv_m3100/detail/pay_monthly [orange.co.uk] . O2 and TMobile have identical offerings, except they are called XDAs and MDAs rather than SPVs. Vodafone have a fairly similar offering, but it is an IPaq rather than an HTC model.
  • We keep hearing rumors, and opinions, but when *are* we going to have an Apple-branded phone? I can't imagine it is this difficult to build (but I can imagine Verizon being an asshole about it).

    While we're at it, I'm still waiting for my flying car.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by danpsmith (922127)
      While we're at it, I'm still waiting for my flying car.

      Yeah, and I'm still waiting for Duke Nukem Forever and the new Guns and Roses album.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iabervon (1971)
      They'll release it when they can get a cellphone chipset in quantity for less than their profit margin on iPods at the time (after the costs of their components have come down over the course of a product cycle). Then they decide that what they'll announce as the difference between iPod generations is that the new ones are incidentally unlocked GSM cell phones.

      Alternatively, if they decide people want them enough, they do a generation where the storage difference between the $350 and $250 iPods is less, but
  • Is that possible? Could they do key word searches and then transmit adds relevant to my conversation to the screen? I use Gmail and they scan my email and for some reason that really doesn't bother me. But my phone calls? I mean, they're probably really just trying to create a really cool delivery platform for different Google mobile apps, and integrate cool location specific stuff. Right?
    • It's possible. Generic speech recognition for decision trees may be a long way off, but speech-to-text engines with 80% accuracy have been around since the mid 1990s. It is entirely possible for an IP telephony company to record all conversations into text files and index them. It's also perfectly legal- as ISPs have evaded, so far, becoming common carriers under FCC rules.
  • Big Brother Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EtherealStrife (724374) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:53AM (#17325386)
    So they know our credit card info, billing addresses, real names, etc from Google Checkout, they read our emails (Gmail), they know what we've been searching for (Google Search), they have access to our images (Picasa), access to our videos (Google Video), access to our IM habits (Google Talk), they track our movements (Google Earth), and now they want to monitor our telephone conversations? Next we'll be hearing that Cheney's been having secret meetings with Schmidt. . . . :P

    All kidding aside, it's going to be interesting to see what Google eventually does with all this stored information.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sciros (986030)
      Replace humanity with doppelgangers and by the time the few that are left figure out it will be far too late. Unless those few are ninjas; then the ownage that ensues will be amazing.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So they know our credit card info, billing addresses, real names, etc from Google Checkout, they read our emails (Gmail), they know what we've been searching for (Google Search), they have access to our images (Picasa), access to our videos (Google Video), access to our IM habits (Google Talk), they track our movements (Google Earth), and now they want to monitor our telephone conversations? Next we'll be hearing that Cheney's been having secret meetings with Schmidt. . . . :P

      Don't forget that they sell to
    • by garcia (6573) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:04AM (#17325514) Homepage
      they track our movements (Google Earth), and now they want to monitor our telephone conversations?

      They'd be tracking our movements via GPS/triangulation, calling habits (pizza/takeout?), and exactly what we're surfing (not just searching!) for. I'm sure the "monitoring of our telephone conversations" would be to display relevant ads on the screen after we regained Internet connectivity.

      To answer your final question: they are going to use it to make more money.
    • by Joebert (946227)
      All kidding aside, it's going to be interesting to see what Google eventually does with all this stored information.

      Isn't it obvious ?
      They'll become the greatest target for outsourcing by the North Pole.
    • Why does it bother you that Google will be able to collect all your data? Technically, Microsoft is capable of collecting data from virtually all internet-connected desktop machines in the world, and you can't be sure that there aren't killswitches or other pleasant surprises in their software. Worse, I am positively sure that there are triggers in Windows and its companion software that can be used to collect your data, revoke your access to computer, format your drive - and they're there waiting for their
    • by indigest (974861)
      I agree that privacy is an extremely important concern. With that said, there is tremendous potential for a "not evil" system that has so much information on users. With knowledge about my buying habits, emails, search queries, video preferences, etc.., such a system could introduce me to new products, movies, and TV shows that I don't know about but would probably enjoy. This is the concept behind the Netflix recommendation system but expanded to cover a lot more things than movies. Amazon comes to min
  • Apple fans continue to salivate at the thought of a phone powered by the company-of-cool


    Since when is a corporation "cool"? Are you honestly telling me there are halfwits out there who would buy ANYTHING Apple might crap out? (Well, I suppose there are; I had a neighbor once who had a room full of random junk all branded with Coca-Cola logos.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Silver Sloth (770927)
      Since when is a corporation cool - since forever, that's when. It's called brand image. It is such a significant part of most purchasing decisions that companies will spend huge parts of their advertising budgets enhancing it. Indeed, most ads are selling a lifestyle aspiration, not functionality. i.e. 'drive a MyCarName because it's cool, not 'drive a MyCarName because it gets good gas milage'.

      We /.ers are far too Intelligent to fall for this sort of thing and always make purchasing decisions based on rat
    • People buy on emotion, and justify on fact.

      Pre-purchase: "Drinking that beer will get me laid."
      Post-purchase: "I like this beer because it has high alcohol content."

      An ex-boss of mine used to tell me that even our (then-current) customers bought based on "how will this product help get me laid?" - and we weren't even selling a sexy product.
      • by Sciros (986030)
        Brown paper bags aren't sexy, but some people just aren't a visual treat so I'm not surprised.
    • I had several calls when I gave away a Powerbook 100, minus disk drive, on Craigslist, and only a few years ago even managed to sell the dot-matrix printer that came with my Mac 128 for $10 - so there are people out there who have room for this stuff in their house.

      I won't waste good electricy on anything slower than a 500 mhz Pentium III myself, though. And I've kept the Mac 128, which is trotted out accasionally as a nightlight / digital clock.
    • Yes, as this cartoon [theinquirer.net] illustrates.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How much growth is left in the cell phone biz? Once everybody who needs or wants one, has one, I don't see the introduction of a new phone being that big a deal. I'm not going to switch my phone until the end of my two year contract, and even then I'll probably hold onto it for a while. And of course, everybody wonders how much growth is left in Google, but they keep raising the bar. I think the guy who said Google is going to mint millionaire brainiacs who will start their own companies had the most li

    • by c_forq (924234)
      I think there is quite a bit, every year there is a new batch of teenagers getting phones. Plus I've gotten a new phone every time I've renewed my contract, as every time there has been one better then what I have (I'm not a big fan of the camera-swiss-army knife phones, but have upgraded from a massive brick to a smaller brick, from a smaller brick to a flip phone, a flip phone to a newer flip-phone with a color screen and back-lit keys, and now to a slider that I can leave on for days without charging).
    • "How much growth is left in the music player biz? Once everybody who needs or wants one, has one, I don't see the introduction of a new player being that big a deal."

      Five years ago, the above text wouldn't be too far-fetched...
    • "How much growth is left in the cell phone biz? Once everybody who needs or wants one, has one, I don't see the introduction of a new phone being that big a deal." Yeah, as if that's ever going to happen. Try saying the same thing about the television industry! I've never been to a house without a television, yet there's a whole section in Future Shop for televisions. Aren't there enough TVs out there? What about..computers? The vast majority of people who can afford a computer have at least one. Yet I'm
  • by zenmojodaddy (754377) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:07AM (#17325534)
    I move that it be called the Gone. Which gives ample opportunity to display context-sensitive Gone-Ads. At least it would if I didn't have this dang restraining order...
    • by bughunter (10093)
      While 'Gone' is creative, I believe Steve Martin coined the best term for the Google phone in the 1970's.

      Googlephonic.

      Because you know... it, too, will sound like shit.

      /maybe it's the needle

  • by adzoox (615327) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:07AM (#17325540) Journal
    One is a VOIP phone (released by Cisco/Linksys) ... the other is a cellphone/iPod hybrid ... I honestly think Apple could say that is enough of a differentiation for patent trademark disputes. The main thing to note is that the rumor mill is the one calling it the "iPhone" ... not Apple ... evnthough Apple owns the trademark internationally and owns the domain iPhone.org. Also, this pretty credible storyboard was published yesterday noting the name "iPhone".

    iPhone Storyboard or Ad Design? [fixyourthinking.com]
    • I better go trademarkthese names then eh?

      iYack.
      iChattyCathy.
      iMultiMediaDevice.
      iVoice.
      iCell.
      iCall.
      iTalk.
      iTunesTalk.
      iTele.
      iTelephone.
      iAnnoyance.
      iBrick.
      iPea, which of course goes right along with iPod.
      iFone, duh?
      iExpensive.

    • by RESPAWN (153636)

      One is a VOIP phone (released by Cisco/Linksys) ... the other is a cellphone/iPod hybrid ... I honestly think Apple could say that is enough of a differentiation for patent trademark disputes.

      I disagree. They are both phones first and foremost. It doesn't matter that one will use GSM and/or CDMA technology and the other VOIP+WiFi -- the primary function for both devices will be to make telephone calls. And, I think that any judge would find that the items are both too similar to use the same product name. Furthermore, since Cisco/Linksys has already released working products under the iPhone brand name, I would wager that chances are slim that Apple would be able to obtain the iPhone brand

    • by hehman (448117)
      Do you really think they could get away with making a portable phone called an iPhone when someone else is making a portable phone called an iPhone and has the US trademark to do so? Apple Computer has been dogged for decades about how similar its name is to a record label, for crying out loud. Oh, and IANAL. Somehow I think you needed to say that too.
      • by adzoox (615327)
        And in each case the matter has been settled without a verdict or in Apple's favor (concerning Apple records)

        Apple owns trademarks for the iPhone in a dozen countries - check here [fiercewireless.com]
  • I want deets on this new gPhone!!!
  • Really, I'm fine with google taking over the world as long as someday they come out with a shipping technology. It will enable you to move 5000 G-units an hour.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Prob. breaking an NDA, so posting anonymously. Over a year ago I participated in a focus group on cell phone usage. The premise was that Orange was looking to make the move to the US, and we were to evaluate their marketing plan. The session was pretty standard until they took out (presumaby simulated) pics of the phones showing tight integration with Google Maps, and Google chat. Quite frankly, it was really exciting -- particularly using location based services with graphical integration. All the sta
  • The collaboration between two of the most powerful brands in technology is seen as a potential catalyst...

    Who the hell is Orange? OK, I looked them up -- they're a big company, and maybe they're known more outside the US, but that brand is hardly on the same level as Google when it comes to world-wide recognition.

  • I hope they call it the goophogle.
  • ...Google is racing ahead.
  • Madly (Score:3, Funny)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:32PM (#17329142) Homepage Journal
    Google madly searching for a way to generate revenue before their stockholders regain consciousness...
  • The part about the Google phone giving you geographic-specific results..reminds me of an article here on /. a while ago that talked about future cell phones and how they would tell you these kinds of things..I can't find the link but I find this interesting.
  • This is how most people will talk in the year 2015:
    " I was going to google my googled google, but then my boss's googley googler googled google google google."

      How google is that?

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