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Google Businesses The Internet Communications

Exec Confirms Google Phone 120

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the let-the-battle-begin dept.
cyberianpan writes "The head of Google in Spain and Portugal has confirmed that Google is working on a mobile phone. "Some of the time the engineers are dedicated to developing a mobile phone," This could be the 20% free time development but publicizing that would be stupid. Obviously this phone could link in with Google Earth/Maps... it is a marketers dream for targeted advertising."
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Exec Confirms Google Phone

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:45AM (#18373471)
    I for one welcome our new mobile overlords
  • by flynt (248848) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:45AM (#18373475)
    why can't the phone they're working on be the iphone? also, i wouldn't say the "head of google in portugal" making an off-handed comment really counts as "publicizing" it.
  • by Applekid (993327) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:49AM (#18373515)
    "... it is a marketers dream for targeted advertising."

    How is that different than other phones? I've heard lots of bells and whistles over the years about phones being a portal to direct advertising and that I'd get ads pushed to my phone constantly and, at least myself and my circle of contacts, it's. just. not. happening.

    I don't see what would make Google phone more viable for direct marketing than iPhone or a regular cell that can run Google Maps mobile on it already.

    I'd be more concerned with a Google phone dropping calls when you start talking about stuff the Chinese government would consider corrupting influences on society.
    • If it had GPS, it could know where you are, and display advertisements accordingly. This could just be the splash screen on your phone. Also, you could press "Food" or enter "pizza" and it would show you restaurants in the area, maybe even give you directions. Maybe you could even set it to ring a certain way when you're near a good restaurant.

      Tying you to their other products (Gmail, Picasa) will also bring them ad revenue. It could also legitimate Google's services for the Blackberry crowd. I think that like iPhone for Apple, this would fill the gap for Google's PDA.

      And I imagine contact information is worth a lot to them. Who's in your address book, who you're calling, when you call people, when you're phone is on/off, etc. Not to mention if there's GPS, they'd know where you go during the day.
      • for that kind of usage, you don't need a gps. Celle phone tracking [wikipedia.org] would be enough. And it has been available for years. But I never really saw it being used.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dreamchaser (49529)
          Yes, but couple the capability with Google's penchant and capabilities for and with contextual ads. I can see them doing exactly that.
        • by cjb110 (200521)
          In the UK cell tracking has been used for the last few years. Orange had a page on their mobile site that was a map centred on where you were at that moment. It had things like nearest pub etc.

          It hasn't been a great success but that's mainly because until 'smart' phones appeared, running other apps on a phone wasn't easy.
      • Also, you could press "Food" or enter "pizza" and it would show you restaurants in the area, maybe even give you directions.

        My phone (Nokia 6315i) already does this. I can search for restaurants or businesses by name or by type, and it returns a list sorted by distance from my current location. From the list, I can view a map or have the phone read me the directions out loud as I drive. I was skeptical at first, but it gives much better directions than any person I've known ("Continue east on 13th street 1.2 miles, then prepare to turn right onto Speer blvd."). Fortunately it doesn't bother me with advertising. I could tol

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:03AM (#18373671) Homepage Journal

      How is that different than other phones? I've heard lots of bells and whistles over the years about phones being a portal to direct advertising and that I'd get ads pushed to my phone constantly and, at least myself and my circle of contacts, it's. just. not. happening.
      You're kidding me, right? I have a Motorola Razr V3i from Sprint. I get SMS spam from Sprint just about every other day (it's gotten worse in the past 3 months or so). Plus, the phone itself is loaded with demo software (including a handy-dandy psuedo-GPS feature from a company called Handmark) that's expired since I got it -- this in itself is a form of advertising. Plus the Internet browsing experience is chock-full of advertising and 'popups'.

      Interestingly enough, I already have GMail and Google Maps installed on my phone. Works great and also includes ads.

      The phone is fully capable of displaying all sorts of ads -- it has a browser with Java and support for multiple forms of video and animation and a nice big screen. I wouldn't be surprised if Sprint starting pushing out more.
      • by bheer (633842) <rbheer@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:09AM (#18373723)
        > I get SMS spam from Sprint just about every other day

        SMS ads are untargeted and largely provoke negative reactions. Sounds familiar to banner ads? Google's business model is all about creating advertising models that don't piss users off, and they've succeeded on the web. I'm not a huge Google fan (I don't buy their "don't be evil" kool-aid) but I'd put money that if anyone makes mobile advertising work, it'd be Google.

        • by unitron (5733)

          "Google's business model is all about creating advertising models that don't piss users off..."

          Kinda makes you wish they'd passed on YouTube and bought an actual broadcast/cable television network or three, don't it?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by CodeArtisan (795142)

        You're kidding me, right? I have a Motorola Razr V3i from Sprint. I get SMS spam from Sprint just about every other day (it's gotten worse in the past 3 months or so).
        You do know you can opt out of Sprint SMS Spam, right ? Every message they send has an unsubscribe option.
    • by cgenman (325138) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:51AM (#18374159) Homepage
      I don't see what would make Google phone more viable for direct marketing than iPhone or a regular cell that can run Google Maps mobile on it already.

      A phone knows where you are (through cell-tower triangulation).

      Google knows, through your searches, what you're looking for.

      Let's say you've been running searches for a few night on how to get a book published. Later that week, an SMS ad alerts you to the presence of a corporate training center that you happen to be walking by.

      Or get a little more creative. Google knows you contact someone through g-mail and orkut a lot. The gPhone knows that they visit a particular resturant on a regular basis. The next time you walk by this resturant, that resturant sends you a targeted message letting you know that your friend is there.

      Or there is a book exerpt you've looked up online. When you walk by a Barnes 'n Noble, google checks the local stock with them, then lets you know the price.

      Or maybe google has figured out your anniversary date through a combination of Gmail and google calendar. When you walk by a Zales, the sales associates are alerted to your upcoming event, and hops out of the store to sell you up.

      With databases of information about what people write about in their Gmails, their searches, their maps, books they've looked up, friends on the various systems, their blogs, their IM's, and whatever other data google desktop collects, you can be sure that they have a lot more targeted information at hand than any other advertiser could dream of, and can use it more creatively.

      • by garcia (6573)
        Or get a little more creative. Google knows you contact someone through g-mail and orkut a lot. The gPhone knows that they visit a particular resturant on a regular basis. The next time you walk by this resturant, that resturant sends you a targeted message letting you know that your friend is there.

        It's why they bought out Dodgeball [dodgeball.com]. Mobile Social Networking has been getting a lot of mention lately (especially with SXSW [sxsw.com] going on last week) and while Dodgeball isn't at all innovative anymore (other MSNs ha
      • by saboola (655522) on Friday March 16, 2007 @09:57AM (#18375075)
        Or maybe google has figured out your anniversary date through a combination of Gmail and google calendar. When you walk by a Zales, the sales associates are alerted to your upcoming event, and hops out of the store to sell you up.

        Does the phone come with the "kick salesman in the nuts cause it's none of his damn business" feature, or is that a monthly charged service?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by painQuin (626852)
          when you are married, you will understand that having someone else in charge of remembering such things for you is a -good- thing
      • by dwater (72834)
        > .. that you happen to be walking by.

        Eek. Movie link.

        How about Google do some ads on the *street*? They know you're walking by it from your mobile, so they push a relevant ad onto the big ad *on the street*.

        What was that movie again? They did it with a retina scan, iirc.
    • by vimh42 (981236)
      It will interesting to see what Google comes up with. I for one however will not pay for anything that presents me with advertising.

      What I do see is greater potential for a Google phone than an iPhone. Sure an iPhone could access Google Maps just like a gPhone. But what if you could actually develope your own client side Google Maps software with their API? That is of course assuming the gPhone has is open to developers in that manner. But if it was open to Googles APIs, there is a world o potential not pre
    • by mapkinase (958129)

      I'd be more concerned with a Google phone dropping calls when you start talking about stuff the Chinese government would consider corrupting influences on society.


      Do you live in China? I do not think so. Then may be you should leave it to people who actually live there.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:50AM (#18373527) Homepage Journal

    The Google executive in question disappeared from the surface of the Earth.

    The first rule of the Googleplex is: you don't talk about the Googleplex.
    The second rule of the Googleplex is: you DON'T TALK about the Googleplex. Byotch.

    (Or course this is said tongue-in-cheek)... :-)

  • Best Feature Evar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:52AM (#18373553)
    "... it is a marketers dream for targeted advertising."

    Yeah. Because the ability to have people send you more unwanted advertising is a feature everyone looks for when buying a new phone.
    • by Sunburnt (890890)

      "... it is a marketers dream for targeted advertising."

      Yeah. Because the ability to have people send you more unwanted advertising is a feature everyone looks for when buying a new phone.

      It will be, once companies start trading this inconvenience for free high-quality phones and dramatically lower rates. I won't want one, but if people already put up with paying ridiculous prices for ad-bearing cable TV, I'm sure this service concept will raise few eyebrows.

      • Re:Best Feature Evar (Score:5, Interesting)

        by walt-sjc (145127) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:54AM (#18374179)
        If I'm on the go and in the mood for Pizza, it would be cool to not only find a pizza place and order (like Jobs with the iphone / starbucks demo), but if google displayed a couple ads from the nearest pizza place that showed the specials, or offered me a 10% discount, then it would be worth it.

        IMHO, I would like to see some kind of WiMAX / VoIP phone come to market. The traditional cell phone market / technology sucks. For metropolitan areas, this should be viable. If I'm in the middle of nowhere, I can always use one of the prepaid phones, and setup my voip service to forward to it if my gPhone is not reachable (or maybe the gPhone falls back to old-GSM mode...)
    • or at a very low cost compared to others (Say, $5/month instead of $40), it might do quite well.

      I wouldn't get one, but then I'm one of those weirdos who just wants a phone to make phone calls.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by babbling (952366)
      The thing about targetted advertising is that they're trying to make sure they're advertising something you do want.
      • What I really, truly want is no advertising. Can they give me that?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by geoffspear (692508)
          Well, once their voice recognition software that's indexing everything you ever say on your phone hears you say you want no advertising, I'm sure you'll start getting ads for phones that don't have ads on them.
        • by Bandman (86149)
          I don't mind advertising; I actually LIKE appropriate advertising that lets me know of deals on things that I like.

          I hate stupid spam advertising.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mhall119 (1035984)

      Yeah. Because the ability to have people send you more unwanted advertising is a feature everyone looks for when buying a new phone.

      No, but getting a $700 phone for $100 is a feature everyone looks for, and most people are willing to submit to unwanted advertising to get it. It's the same reason Dells are so popular.
    • Yeah. Because the ability to have people send you more unwanted advertising is a feature everyone looks for when buying a new phone.

      What if the phone was free?

  • Google functionality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sunburnt (890890) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:56AM (#18373599)

    Does this mean that, in an unfamiliar town, I can just type "pizza," hit "I Feel Lucky," and be connected with the most popular pizza joint in town based on call volume?

    Really, I'm not being entirely sarcastic here. I wind up in strange places, and this feature would be more helpful than calling 411. Now, how to implement...

  • ...if they change "I Feel Lucky" to "I Want to Get Lucky".

    • That was a good play on words.
      • by Billosaur (927319) *

        Apparently the "Google Mafia" didn't think so, given the parent's "Overrated" mod and your "Offtopic" mod; it just goes to show that some people have no sense of humor. Hopefully meta-moderation will clean this up.

    • by Rolgar (556636)
      Will it randomly select somebody from Craig's List personals and automatically dial them up? Scary.
    • "I Want to Get Lucky".


      This in combination with some 'hip brand name' which is 'aimed at their target audience'.


      Perhaps they should call it the "G-Unit" or something like that then.. xD

  • the Google Phone will be a BlackBerry-like device running C++ at the core with an operating system bootstrap and optimized Java and that it would offer voice over Internet Protocol.

    What does this actually mean? Why would it be running C++ at the core? Doesn't it make more sense to run native machine code? What devices have an OS but no bootstrap? How do you get them to start? Did they consider pessimised Java, but decided that optimised would be more efficient?
    • by abshnasko (981657)
      To clarify: BlackBerry-like device running C++ at the core with an operating system bootstrap and optimized Java and that it would offer voice over Internet Protocol = iPhone
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        The iPhone offers neither Java nor VoIP and Apple doesn't develop in C++.

        Nice try but 0 for 3.
    • by stratjakt (596332)
      LOL

      More sense to run native machine code, good one.. Well played.

      Why is linux written in C? Wouldnt it make more sense to use it on computers?
      • by mabinogi (74033)
        There's a difference between "written in" and "runs on"

        The original post implied that C++ was some sort of runtime platform. It's not, it's just a language. Things don't "run on" C++ or C.
  • Why is this news?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:13AM (#18373751)
    (other than the fact it's about Google)

    It didn't come from Larry Page and Sergey Brin or anybody like that. For all we know, this statement may just be some sort of FUD meant to scare people who put out other smart phones (Read: Microsoft, Palm, etc.).

    I'll wait for some sort of "official" announcement.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why would it be stupid to publicize a project employees run on their 20% self-determined time? It's not like the 20% is intended for slacking off, it's productive time in which you can create something you think is best for the company, instead of the drudgery the managers push on you. It's still paid time and the results belong to the employer, as is their right. But it would be amazingly cool if a group of people manage to create an entirely new kind of product (for the company) without the involvement
  • Google already has an excellent Maps application that runs on Windows Mobile. It's absolutely amazing in that it has almost the exact functionality as the PC browser version. All the map content is downloaded over the network as images and even so, it runs even faster than Pocket Streets. Way more useful too.
  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:19AM (#18373805) Homepage Journal

    From a leaked press release:

    At Google we are committed to organizing the world's conversation. Our GPhone (or Google Telephone in Europe) will be entirely free, as will its service plan, so long as you agree to hear targeted ads during your conversations. This works in much the same way that GMail or GoogleMail parses your e-mail text for its ads. GPhone ads will be audio ads, akin to radio ads but targeted using keywords taken from your verbal conversation, and with the option to call the sponsor. If you call a friend and mention that you'd like to make vacation plans, for example, you may hear several brief ads for travel agencies, with the option to call each agency. When the ads are finished (or your convenient parallel-call to book an exciting Alaskan cruise is finished) you will be returned to the conversation with your friend, who will have waited patiently for you. Even more exciting is that all of your past conversations will be searchable, using Google's innovative new audio indexing algorithms.
    • by cryptochrome (303529) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:42AM (#18374077) Journal
      John: Hey darlin'!

      Jane: John... we need to talk.

      John: Uh, OK.

      Jane: It's just not working out.

      Google: Want abs you can grate cheese with? Join Bally Total Fitness!

      John: God damn thing - wait, what are you saying?

      Jane: It's over John.

      John: But why?

      Jane: It's not you, it's me.

      Google: Head to iTunes to download hot new singles like "Why Can't I be You" by Taylor Hicks!

      Jane: Oh god, he totally sucked.

      John: Just ignore it, please? And don't give me that bullshit line. What's the real reason?

      Jane: It's your damn gPhone, alright? We can never just talk!

      Google: Reduce ads by getting your friends a gPhone of their very own!

      Jane: Goodbye John.

      John: Wait Jane-

      Jane: [click]

      John: Oh for fuck's sake.

      Google: Looking for sensual encounters? Try AdultFriendFinder.com!

      John: I guess I am now.
  • by hey! (33014) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:19AM (#18373809) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: "Some of the time the engineers are dedicated to developing a mobile phone."

    Makes it sound like the engineers were sitting around in their treehouse and one of them thought it would be neat to make a really cool kinda phone thingy. Management overhears when its bringing them up a platter of PB&J sandwich,"OK, just don't fall behind on your homework." The wacky hijinks those kids get themselves into.

    Seriously, the world doesn't need another mobile phone. But a real cool kinda phone thingy would be ... cool. I look at my phone, and I don't see a phone, I see a over narrow bandwidth pipe with badly designed fittings.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...I see a over narrow bandwidth pipe with badly designed fittings.

      My girlfriend said the same thing last night, but she was talking about my genitals.
  • It's apparent that both Apple and Google believe that the phone/hand-held-computer will be the next dominant computing platform, and they're intent on wrestling ownership of that platform away from RIM/Blackberry.

    Interesting that Apple and Google are working tightly together on iPhone apps; now Google's working on their own phone, and there's also been rumors that Apple will license their "mini OS X" to other hand-helds. My guess is Google will be the first licensee, and Steve Jobs wants "mini OS X" to be
    • by dfghjk (711126)
      It's about time they caught on. The rest of the industry figured that out already.

      RIM doesn't own the platform, they dominate the push-email communicator market. Symbian dominates smartphones with WM second.

      "Interesting that Apple and Google are working tightly together on iPhone apps..."

      Apple is working with Google because they want Google Maps Mobile running on their device. There's no reason to consider it any kind of partnership. GMM already runs on oher platforms and Apple doesn't offer a public SD
    • Buy AAPL now for a times-20 return in 10 years.


      Even Slashdot's being overrun by these pump-and-dump spammers....
  • No, seriously, some engineers are working on a plan for Google World Domination (I don't know whether it's going to remain Beta) including a Google (Moon)Base and more... that they're working on free wireless for everybody and/or a phone doesn't surprise me.
  • by nanosquid (1074949) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:36AM (#18374013)
    Whatever this is, it's gotta be better than Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, or iPhone.

    Why is it better than iPhone you ask? Because, apart from being one of the most restrictive and proprietary phones around, the iPhone has the outmoded usage model that the user wants to tie his phone to some desktop machine. I don't want to sync with a desktop, I want to sync with a network service.
    • I'm amazed at how much of an opinion you have on a device that isn't even been released yet, and that, by the accounts of everyone who's touched it, that quite a few features are simply screenshots.

      • I'm amazed at how much of an opinion you have on a device that isn't even been released yet,

        Apple's own materials tell us that it has desktop synchronization and no third party applications:

        http://www.apple.com/iphone/ [apple.com]

        http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=36 919 [theinquirer.net]

        Furthermore, it's likely that the desktop synchronization will evolve out of iSync and iTunes.

        The fact that Jobs has been lying about why Apple made the iPhone so restrictive also speaks for itself.

        Of course, Apple will likely offer some fo
        • Dude, are you on CRACK?

          Mmmmkay, let's say that I grant you every horror story you seem to have concocted about the iPhone, and that it's a horrible, closed platform requiring desktop synchronization and a ritual baby sacrifice. Whatever, nevermind that you have not used/owned an iPhone, and really have only circumstantial evidence to support your claims, let's see why Google's mobile phone offering is superior....

          Because it's programmable and network-centric? Man, I'm all for, um, being crazy or whatever
          • Whatever, nevermind that you have not used/owned an iPhone,

            I don't need to use/own one in order to know that a $500-$600, closed, non-programmable phone that uses desktop synchronization sucks. How do I know that? Because I have owned plenty of smartphones.

            And what the hell is this alleged "fact" you've thrown in about Steve Jobs lying about why it's closed? I missed the evidence supporting that claim, and since we're taking so many hits from the CrazyBong, I'm not taking your word for it.

            Jobs claims that
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe you feel secure keeping all your info on someone else's machine that you have no control over....I myself do not. I want my phone to be tied to --at most-- to my desktop and nothing else. The iPhone is not deficient in that respect to me.
      • Maybe you feel secure keeping all your info on someone else's machine that you have no control over....I myself do not.

        The iPhone is a machine you have no control over.

        I want my phone to be tied to --at most-- to my desktop and nothing else.

        The iPhone is tied to your carrier and Apple. You have no control over what it does, how it does it, who it transmits your data to, or whether it does so securely.

        As for storing my data on a network server, I have no problem with that as long as it's encrypted, and that
    • by treeves (963993)
      Is that related to the fact that Apple was able to keep the iPhone a secret so well for so long, while Google couldn't, or is that just because Steve Ballmer is right: Google is just too big for its own good?
    • Yes, and the iPod is a failure, too. People don't want to be tied to iTunes, and also prefer to copy their music across manually, rather than sync it with their desktop.

      Most of the phones on the market are restrictive and proprietary, so how will this be a big problem for Apple? And I want to sync with my desktop. Sync with a network service? Sounds like another restrictive expense. Stop assuming everyone has the same needs as you.
  • ...Hear no Evil.

    Apparently the new Google Video service (YouTube) motto, "See no Evil" hasn't caught on yet... :-)

  • They have an open position for head of Spain and Porgugal regions :)
  • I reach for my gun.
  • I would urge the exec of Google Spain and Portugal to take advantage of the insane mobile coverage available to start providing the services that Google offers in the US. The SMS services are not to my knowledge available in Portugal - and probably it's the same for Spain). Myabe they want to skip it for a "new generation" thingie custom made for the iPhone, using UMTS/3G. Even if they are nice many people still use simple SMS instead of MMS and the like. I would probably be more interested in the "simpler
  • Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google and board-member of Apple, said something cryptic after the introduction of the iPhone at Apple's last keynote. "Wimax is coming."
  • *Walks into store*
    "Say, sport, how much is this radio?"
    "243 bucks," He opines.
    *Froogles*
    "O'rly?"

    Granted, you can do that now with printouts, and many people google from their phones, but widespread majority on-the-fly price lookups are gonna devastate local and regional retail mark-up. Lol at the end of market exploitation by isolation. Even now the nemesis of the retail salesman is the guy who comes in to check a product out, and then goes home to buy it on the inertnet.
  • This could destroy the iPhone before it even gets a toe-hold. iPhone is tied exclusively to Cingular(?) for (I forget how long exactly) years.

    If Google phone gets released within one year without being crippled by a one cell provider arrangement then there will be a lot of Apple suckers wishing they didn't drink the Kool-aid.

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