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Google Businesses The Internet Communications

Google Hopes to Disaggregate Carriers with gPhone 183

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the locutus-of-google dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The New York Times has a look at Google's plan to loosen the carriers' control over their mobile phone networks in an effort to bring the dynamics of the PC-oriented Internet to the mobile Internet hoping that it can beat competitors in an open environment. The Google Phone or gPhone which is expected to be unveiled later this year will not compete with the iPhone but will help Google distribute their online services. Google intends to provide software that will be built into phones sold by many manufacturers and, unlike Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Google is not expected to charge phone makers a licensing fee for their software. Google will make its money brokering ads on the mobile phones and even envisions a free phone service one day supported entirely through ad revenue."
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Google Hopes to Disaggregate Carriers with gPhone

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  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:48PM (#20904809)
    In order to have any service, you have to be in a gSpot.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wow, that gets funnier every time someone posts it.
    • by davester666 (731373) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:21PM (#20905661) Journal
      How exactly will this loosen carriers control? Carriers in the US already dictate the features for each phone it offers [which are the majority of cell phones sold in the US]. Just look on the latest KRAZR, it's advertised by MOTO has being this fabulous phone, but each of the 4 major carriers sell it with a significantly different feature set. And just offering the OS for free doesn't make a difference to manufacturers as some cell phones already run Linux...

      And it's a non-starter for Canada, given the outrageous data fees...
      • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @12:29AM (#20907737) Journal
        It will help loosen carriers' control by forcing them to accept Google's software in its entirety.

        I mean, one can only assume that Google would require the carriers to offer either all of the features of their application suite, or none at all. And once one or two national carriers (or a handful of regional ones) start adopting this software, the rest will be compelled to make a decision:

        Play ball with Google and adjust business models accordingly. This is obviously a somewhat frightening concept for companies like Verizon which are deeply entrenched in selling individual services for exorbitant sums, and it will likely be an expensive task to perform.

        or...

        Distance themselves from the household name of Google, stubbornly maintain the status quo, and fade into obscurity as an increasingly-clued consumer populace flocks toward their Google-embracing competition. And where the former choice was merely frightening and expensive, this one will be downright terrifying and death-bringing.

        • by NeMon'ess (160583) *
          Okay, but how will Google get any carrier to accept their software if it means losing all those profits from services sold separately?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by davotoula (938199)
          I don't see how this strategy will work for Google in Europe. You see here each country has a handful of operators (2-4) and a part of their revenue is bastardising the mobile phones they offer in as many ways as possible. I am afraid it will be all too easy for the handful of operators operating in a country to choose not to allow Google in and be certain that the other operator(s) will do the same.
    • by overtoperative (886928) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:29PM (#20905753)
      and how many /.ers will be able to find these gSpots?
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:49PM (#20904825) Homepage Journal
    They like control because it provides them a way to sell additional software and services for the phones. They don't want companies like Google stepping in and selling ads. Even on smart phones, Windows Mobile is customized for that purpose. Will Google allow that level of control to the cell companies? I'm guessing no more than they allow other third parties to control their content on the Web.
     
    • And (Score:5, Insightful)

      by einhverfr (238914) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:55PM (#20904901) Homepage Journal
      Mnay people, like myself, don't want ad-supported cell service. I want my money to be what controls the services, no the advertisers' money.
      • Re:And (Score:5, Funny)

        by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:07PM (#20904995) Journal

        Hello, 911

        "... one moment please. You have dialed 911. gPhone will place your call shortly. Please listen to these 3 contextual ads."

        "Hi, need a lawyer? Call 1-900-SUX-2-B-U!"

        "Need an ambulance in a hurry? Call 123-456-7890"

        "Remember Forest Lawn - when it comes time to go to that big sleep."

        "Thak you for waiting. gPhone will now connect you to 911"

        "This is 911 emergency services. Your call is important to us. In the meantime, plase listen to these contextual ads ..."

      • Re:And (Score:5, Funny)

        by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:23PM (#20905133) Homepage Journal
        And are you under the impression that your money has the slightest effect on the way the cell phone companies operate?
        • Re:And (Score:5, Insightful)

          by einhverfr (238914) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:35PM (#20905261) Homepage Journal
          Yes, it does make a difference. If T-Mobile meets my needs better, am I going to go with them or with AT&T? What about Verizon? Yes, these companies have to compete for our money, so yes, it does make a difference. That was the whole reason for number portability.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Yes, it does make a difference. If T-Mobile meets my needs better, am I going to go with them or with AT&T? What about Verizon? Yes, these companies have to compete for our money, so yes, it does make a difference. That was the whole reason for number portability.

            Not quote. For prepaid you have a point, but you still have to keep in mind the cost of the phones as most are locked to a certain carrier. For service plan, most require a multi-year contract which really takes competition out of the equation.

            If phones were not tied to providers, providers didn't require contracts, and everything wasn't controlled by a handful of companies, I'd completely agree with you about letting competition sort it out.

            • by einhverfr (238914)

              For service plan, most require a multi-year contract which really takes competition out of the equation.
              Only for a while. The question is do you want the carriers to care if *you* pay them or care if the advertisers pay them? That is the question.

              Maybe the gphone will be good in opening up competition, but I won't go for ad-supported cell service.
          • Re:And (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @10:00PM (#20906943) Homepage Journal
            Compete?

            There are a couple vendors. They all charge roughly the same prices, offer roughly the same services, probably share customer support reps in some developing nation, own the same Congressmen, they're all charging us the 'regulatory fee reclamation' shit, etc.

            I've had four different cell phone providers. There's little difference.

            Google may make their money off advertisers, but they've proven themselves far more responsible, ethically minded, and consumer responsive than any of the cell phone companies. Sure, the advertisers pay their bills, but those advertisers won't exist without us consumers using their products and thus providing advertisers with eyeballs to purchase.
      • Re:And (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dwater (72834) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:27PM (#20905173)
        I was thinking the same thing, yet here I am using free Slashdot (I am fairly sure I've seen notices that I can pay for it if I want - does that get rid of the ads?).

        However, I have nothing against an ad supported network, so long as I can still choose to pay (instead of ads) if I want to.
      • Re:And (Score:5, Funny)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:29PM (#20905199) Homepage

        but why?

        "hey dave! let's go get some burgers!" ... bennegans has the best burgers in town and just around the corner....

        "Holy crap what was that?" ... feeling down, the holy saviour church can help you.....

        "Sorry, I get free cellphone through google, it plays ad's based on keywords from the last thing you said" ... verizon cellphones dont annoy you with advertisments every 12 seconds try one today....

        "this sucks!" ... lonely? looking for a good time? www.sexpots.com is your source for low prices in companionship...

        Oh yeah, I can see an ad supported free cellphone working just fine.
      • Re:And (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JimDaGeek (983925) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:33PM (#20905243)

        I want my money to be what controls the services
        But that is not often the case when a few large companies control everything. I recently got a mobile phone for my wife and I. After much searching, there was not much that differentiates the different companies. You will get basically the same features (depending on what you spend) and you will pay similar prices. All the big carriers I went to wanted to lock me in to a 2 year contract. All of them had annoying sales people that tried to sell me the latest whizz-bang phone. And all of them are way over priced IMO. The only thing I found my money could give me a choice over was if I wanted to pay a lot of cash for a phone to take crappy pictures or to listen to some songs, or maybe look at a web page in a crappy browser.

        In looking at options to get the lowest monthly cost, well there just weren't many options to be truthful. One option was 700 shared family minutes for $79 USD/month or 1,400 shared family minutes for $89 USD/month. WTF? If I can get 1,400 minutes for $90/month, why can't I get 700 minutes for $45/month?

        When it comes to the mobile market, my money doesn't seem to control much of anything.
        • Use a third party reseller. They will have many more phones for free than the mobile provider will, and on some models they will even pay you to take them. I used letstalk.com and and got two motorola phones from T-mobile and they actually paid me $200! $100 came from letstalk, and the other $100 was the mail-in rebate from t-mobile itself. The price of the plans is the same, so there was no downside in my experience. I was actually even past the deadline on sending in some of the rebates and they still pai
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by omeomi (675045)
          All the big carriers I went to wanted to lock me in to a 2 year contract.

          Technically speaking, you can usually choose to buy the phone outright (rather than at a huge discount) and forgo the contract. Have to agree that cell service is overpriced, though.
      • by spud603 (832173)
        It seems more likely that this this will go the way of cable television: there are copious ads and you pay through the nose for features you don't want.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Torontoman (829262)
        Funny though how people think this will flop when in reality Google seems to make gold out of anything and do it in a 'non invasive' way. Gmail is great and google is the leading search engine. Sure there are a few people freaking about rights and whatnot but they search about those rights violations on google.

        I'm betting they'll do this, do it right, and revolutionize the cell phone - putting the crap old guard out of business or at least change them into something better. I for one would welcome free ca
      • The issue isn't whether services will be ad supported, it's whether phones/networks are open to the degree that you can choose what/who to use for different applications/services.

        Even if you are paying a phone company they are not going to turn their nose up at an additional revenue source if it is there to be had.

        At least with a more open environment the various will have to compete against each other to be less annoying and provide a better experience so you have a reason to choose their app/service.
      • I want my money to be what controls the services, no the advertisers' money.

        Remember the free Netzero internet service? Want a phone service to be as reliable and easy to use? I expect this to go the way of free Netzero internet or commercial free cable TV or subscriber magazines free of commercials.

        In short, it will devolve into a paid service with advertisements.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by davidsyes (765062)
      Hopefully DO NO evil will translate into UNDO evil.

      If Google charges reasonable or no fees to the carriers, but then allows the carriers to still make a living with reasonable caps, then the carriers should shut the hell up, since it appears Google won't be charging them a fee, unlike mshaft. Afterall, they, like the smaller of us, have an OPPORTUNITY, not a RIGHT to do business. They need to update their aging business models.

      Meanwhile, Chinese on the mainland (and possibly in Japan, Korea, and a few other
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog (752185)

        Meanwhile, Chinese on the mainland (and possibly in Japan, Korea, and a few other places, customers replace their cell phones every 3 or 4 months to the tune of $300 to $400 a pop so as to not look behind the times.)

        Wow, I feel old and dumb. It takes me 3 months just to figure out where all the stupid functions are on these UI-from-Hell cell phones (I'm looking at YOU Motorola...). Maybe they just hang them on a cord or something and have them bleep randomly. Maybe the Oriental mind can fathom the bizar

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cuby (832037)
      In Europe the majority of phones can be found unlocked, but they are also more expensive that way. Operators don't seem to care if a phone is unlocked and used in another operator. I don't remember to hear someone complaining about bricked phones... In the end is all about the price of the services they provide, not the devices.

      The companies have the power given by the market regulator.
      I think all consumers should complain more about the market regulator and less about the companies. They always try to maxi
  • Um, okay (Score:5, Informative)

    by jtroutman (121577) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:49PM (#20904827)
    FTFA: Industry analysts say that Google, which has little experience with complex hardware, faces significant challenges. I'd have to disagree [wikipedia.org]. Now, I'm not saying that the two technologies have any overlap, but that the statement that Google "has little experience with complex hardware" seems a little disingenuous.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pedantic bore (740196)

      There's a big difference between putting a bunch of beige boxes into a rack and designing a piece of hardware. Google has experience with using hardware that was designed and built by other folks, but they don't do hardware.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There's a huge difference between designing a network topology (even with the impressive performance and scalability that Google has achieved) and designing the actual devices used. One of the most impressive parts of what Google has done is that they've managed to put together quite possibly the most scalable network topology ever using predominantly commodity hardware.

      That said, from the description of this project, it sounds like they don't intend to design and build their own phone. It sounds like they
  • ads (Score:4, Interesting)

    by McGiraf (196030) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:49PM (#20904829) Homepage
    Ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, and ads.

    And then some ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads, and aslo ads and ads.

    I think there is enough ads already, I'm starting to hate Google.

    look an ad in my sig!

    heurg!
    • Re:ads (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:02PM (#20904939)

      I don't like Google's vision of a world paid for by Ads either. Because we'll end up paying for services one way or another, through the marketing budgets of the products we buy if not directly. The other consequence of this is that we never feel ownership of anything because we don't pay for it and we get a 'well you can have a refund, what do you want for nothing' if we complain about the quality of a service. Ads are damned intrusive (by their design), annoying and ugly!

      • by caswelmo (739497)
        While I'd agree that dealing with ads is annoying, I think there may be another way to look at it. Companies will always seek a way to reach their customers. This can take many different forms, but they all fall under the guise of "advertisement". And make no mistake, they will make every effort to reach you. If it's not on your TV, it will be via email. If not via email, it will be on your phone. If it's not on your phone, it will be... You get the point.

        So, it would seem that short of living in the
        • by walt-sjc (145127)
          Sure, companies can TRY to reach me various ways, but the more they invade, the more turned off I am, and the more I resort to technological means to block these ads - Tivo, Adblock, Spamassassin, etc. I would not use an ad supported phone. Phones are slow enough now even in 3G areas, and screen real-estate is too precious to deal with ads without seriously degrading usability.

          I'm sure some pre-teens will fall for free ad-supported phones, but nobody with any money at all is going to put up with it.
      • Remember the days of free-to-air television? All those I Love Lucy productions -- it's all been paid for by ads since the mid 1950's. Nobody minded when they were only a few minutes per hour.

        The critical metric, the fulcrum, the absolute measure of success or failure of ad-supported media, in any form, is the ratio of ads:content. If ads outweigh content in terms of user attention, you'll lose.

        I could argue that ads are more effective when they're in the background, and don't capture your attention dir

    • Re:ads (Score:4, Insightful)

      by moosesocks (264553) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:07PM (#20905547) Homepage
      You're right. Ads suck. I'll agree with that.

      However, AT&T and Verizon's wireless arm sit somewhere among the RIAA, MPAA, and the guy who designed the packaging on jewel cases in terms of the amount of respect/patience I have for them.

      If we can get a carrier that doesn't treat its customers like dirt, I think the ads are a decent tradeoff. Even better, if the carriers are indeed disaggregated, we'll wind up with a system like Europe, where the cost of the handset is often *completely* separated from the plan. The Mobile networks provide the airspace and the bandwidth -- that's it. Pricing schemes tend to be mostly straightforward.

      I pay 10p ($0.20 USD) GBP per minute outgoing, and 5p ($0.10 USD) per SMS outgoing on my UK mobile. No monthly fees or bizarre restrictions like you see on US prepay carriers. If you're a heavy user, a prepay scheme might cost you a bit more money, but for someone like myself who rarely gabs on for more than a minute or two, it's much cheaper than what I used to pay in the US. (OT: This is more or less the *only* instance under which something is cheaper in the UK than the US. This graph [yahoo.com] should scare the pants off of you if you're an American.)

      I didn't mind paying for my handset [wikipedia.org] either. I needed a basic but durable handset, and the fine forces of capitalism indeed produced such a device at a reasonable cost. I'm pretty sure that all Verizon users can testify that their entire line of devices is absolute garbage.

      So... bring it on. I welcome some 'real' competition in the industry.
    • when sometime in the future, the entire global economy doesn't seem to be based entirely on advertising. Imagine what would HAPPEN if companies decided that advertising didn't work anymore...

      -how would TV networks afford to do anything?
      -how would 75% of the websites out there stay in business?
      and so on...

      I'm sure it'll never happen, because the human race does seem to be sheepish enough to succumb to advertisements, but it's still an interesting thought experiment to wonder what'll happen when/if the paradi
      • by McGiraf (196030)
        I do not want ads to disappear, i just want less of them not more. There is a point were it's just to much.
        • by Xiaran (836924)
          And something people seem to forget. When you plaster too many ads on something then those ads become *far less* effective. Ideally ads should be discreet and targeted. I have no problems with advertising as long as the ad is relevant to me and not "in your face". In fact a relevant ad is useful to me as I *am* interested in buying things and *would* like to know where I can by them conveniently and cheaply.

          The problem is that advertisers don't seem to understand this.
          • by McGiraf (196030)
            They do not rely on you actually looking at the ads, they just want them to be in your field of view all the time, influencing you without you even realizing it.

  • by Anonymous Crowhead (577505) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:53PM (#20904865)
    Because I'm sure the manufacturers will pass the savings on directly to you and me.
    • Oh please!

      I remember when DVD players launched at $600 and then hovered around $400. Today, you can get a Coby brand DVD player for $29.99 MSRP. Cheaper yet, I could purchase a DVD player for just under 5 US dollars while in Shanghai.

      Besides, why shouldn't the early adopter manufactures not make a profit? I know I'd milk this market for as long as I could...until the Chinese come in and undercutted me.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      Google is not expected to charge phone makers a licensing fee for their software. Google will make its money brokering ads on the mobile phones

      &

      Because I'm sure the manufacturers will pass the savings on directly to you and me.

      Even if they would, I'd rather pay the $10, or $20 more than watch ads. On a tiny mobile screen, you lose from ads in 4 ways:

      1. Extra time required to download the ad (we're not all on the latest 3G).
      2. Extra fees for the extra bandwidth from the ads (unlimited data plans are rare
  • Just curious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jtroutman (121577) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:53PM (#20904871)
    What is the possibility that Google gets the 700MHz spectrum and then uses it for their own phone service? I have no idea if that's even feasible, but if so, it would bypass any problem they may have with the current carriers not using their software because they see them as competition for advertising dollars.
    • Re:Just curious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GlassHeart (579618) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:53PM (#20905951) Journal

      They'll need more than the rights to the spectrum. They'll need to set up antennas everywhere, which includes both the broadcast equipment, tower, as well as renting/buying the space occupied by the towers. If memory serves, an unobstructed GSM tower covers about a 2-mi radius (say, 12.5 sq mi), so covering the most populous tenth of the (nearly 3 million sq mi total) lower 48 states would involve 24,000 towers. CDMA can be configured to cover a wider area, but this should give you an idea of the scope of the project.

      I hate carriers at least as much as anybody else, but after Google makes that kind of investment they may find it hard not to be Evil with their pricing.

      • by EllisDees (268037)
        700 mhz has a considerably longer range than 2 miles...
        • First of all, the AC who responded to you is quite correct. Power constraints on the mobile phone will limit its maximum distance from a tower. Worse, a mobile phone would have an approximately omnidirectional antenna, which makes it even harder on battery life. But also just as importantly, you don't want a mobile phone that transmits a lot of power right next to your brain even if the battery technology was available.

          Secondly, city dwellers are some of the most important market segments, and you definit

          • Transmission distance is a function of both carrier wavelength and power. The longer the carrier wavelength, the lower the power. 700MHz light has a fair bit longer wavelength than a lot of mobile phone bands; it was chosen for TV because it travelled so well.

            Unfortunately, the data bandwidth is a function of the frequency, and so a lower frequency means less data, which means more towers to get the same service to as many people.

    • by gl4ss (559668)
      whats the possibility they use many billions on something very high risk, entirely just google service, with just googles phones(it would be usa only, little intrest from any other manufacturers)? it wouldn't bypass the problem that the carriers still exist to compete with phones against them.

      some os frontend for some htc/whatever hardware would make much more sense, or improved mobile sites and improved mobile support for gmail, google apps etc. you can already get gmail and google through j2me apps on ju
  • obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:54PM (#20904889) Homepage
    The New York Times has a look at Google's plan to loosen the carriers' control over their mobile phone networks

    ph0wned!
  • Single Page (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:55PM (#20904899) Journal
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/08/business/media/08googlephone.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

    My basic issue is this: How much cheaper is an ad-subsidized gPhone going to be in comparison to some relatively nice pre-paid phone?

    But if Google-powered phones prove to be a hit with consumers, other carriers may feel pressure to follow suit, said Richard Doherty, director for the Envisioneering Group, a consulting firm.
    Why? You could replace "Google-powered" with just about anything and the statement would hold true.

    Other than a low(er) price... a Google Phone isn't magically going to bring the internet to the masses. Are Google ads going to subsidize a 3G network? Even the iPhone isn't anything special unless you're within range of a wifi network and/or are paying AT&T $2,000 for their service plan over the next two years.

    As far as I noticed, TFA never comes out and says what a gPhone is going to bring to the market that will win over consumers. Brand name? Features? Function?
    • Re:Single Page (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:38PM (#20905279) Journal

      As far as I noticed, TFA never comes out and says what a gPhone is going to bring to the market that will win over consumers. Brand name? Features? Function?

      I don't know about TFA, because like most people around here I didn't bother to read it, but I do have a bit of a background in the wireless industry. And ANYTHING that ANYBODY can do to loosen the tight grip that the carriers have on our collective balls is a good thing.

      Right now the carriers control what types of phones you can use on their networks. They want to lock out anything that might compete with their own content offerings. It's bad enough that Microsoft can make all their own services (MSN Search and IE come to mind) the default in Windows. Now imagine if they made it outright impossible to install other software or content that didn't come from them. Because that's what the cellular carriers do!

      There is no reason that there shouldn't be a wireless version of carterfone. This document [ssrn.com] provides an interesting read into the current state of affairs. Consumers on Verizon and Sprint are screwed. AT&T and T-Mobile customers fare a little better, since they always have the option of buying unbranded/unlocked GSM phones. But even at that the carriers are attempting to impose artificial limitations -- like T-Mobile's claim (false, but they still sell this to the unwashed masses) that MyFaves won't work on a non-MyFaves phone.

      All the power to Google if they can open up this market just a little bit. I won't ever be owning an ad-sponsored phone. But maybe they will bring something similar to carterfone to the market. They certainly have nothing to fear from the carriers, unlike the equipment makers (Mororola, Nokia, etc) that are afraid to speak up for fear of losing that carriers business.

  • Will not compete? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flaming error (1041742) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:58PM (#20904915) Journal
    > The Google Phone ... will not compete with the iPhone

    I don't really think they expect me to carry a gPhone in one pocket and an iPhone in another.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      > The Google Phone ... will not compete with the iPhone

      I don't really think they expect me to carry a gPhone in one pocket and an iPhone in another.


      I'm sure they'll keep this in mind when designing the new combination giPhone... now where should one put that? ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Belacgod (1103921)
        I'm sure they'll keep this in mind when designing the new combination giPhone... now where should one put that? ;)

        Iraq?

      • "It was a million to one shot, Doc. Million to one."
      • by g0at (135364)

        I'm sure they'll keep this in mind when designing the new combination giPhone... now where should one put that? ;)
        swallow it [wikipedia.org], of course. :)

        b

    • They mean that they are aimed at different markets. If you are the kind of person who values UI at the expense of openness, you will get an iPhone. If you value cheap above all else, you will get a gPhone. If you value user experience and openness, you're screwed.
  • Not Competition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:00PM (#20904929) Homepage Journal
    How do they figure that?

    its a phone, it has applications, it has internet access.. Of course its competition..
  • Google's Experience (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeremiahbell (522050)
    From Article - "Running a Web site and a search engine is one thing," said Mr. Weide of IDC. "But developing a phone is a whole different game. It will not be easy for them."

    They claim that Google will have hard time because it doesn't have the experience dealing with complex hardware. Sure, maintaining what is probably the world's largest search engine isn't complex. And as far as the handset hardware goes they won't be the first to port the kernel to a mobile platform, and someone else may have already
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:06PM (#20904983) Homepage

    "Hey, let's have dinner tonight"

    (Robotic Google voice) "May we suggest ... Chez Panisse ... which is 2.4 miles from your present location, Bill, and 1.3 miles from your present location, Karen. Reservations are available at 7:30 and 7:45 PM. A reservation has been made for you at 7:30. Bill, please turn right on Western. Karen, go 1 mile straight ahead to Central, then turn left on Western. Chez Panisse is at 1540 Western. Have a nice dinner, and thank you for choosing Google for your phone service."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by davidsyes (765062)
      And then someone hacks, umm, cracks the database and steers them both to Chez Poosay, right in the middle of a police raid on massage parlors...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      "I worked like a slave today ..."

      gPhone ad: "Are you looking for slaves? Say 'yes' to search for slaves in your area."

      "I hate this gPhone!"

      gPhone: "Thank you for your user input. We have subscribed you to 5000 email lists for gay pr0n, and sent out invites in your name to everyone in your phone book, as well as everyone in THEIR phone books. Have a nice day."

      • If it's anything like the search engine, if you say slaves it will reply with 'Find Slaves! Buy Slaves on eBay now!'
    • by grcumb (781340)

      "Hey, let's have dinner tonight"

      (Robotic Google voice) "May we suggest ... Chez Panisse ... which is 2.4 miles from your present location, Bill, and 1.3 miles from your present location, Karen. Reservations are available at 7:30 and 7:45 PM. A reservation has been made for you at 7:30. Bill, please turn right on Western. Karen, go 1 mile straight ahead to Central, then turn left on Western. Chez Panisse is at 1540 Western. Have a nice dinner, and thank you for choosing Google for your phone service."

      Okay, it's funny, and it's a little scary. But consider that, in a gift economy, this kind of interaction might actually prove beneficial. Imagine, for example, if Chez Panisse actually turned out to be the right place for a date? Bruce Sterling wrote a charming story about this, titled Maneki Neko [amazon.com]. While the spectre of Big Brother and Total Information Awareness looms large over any information-based society, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that this power can be used for good as well.

      They key to t


    • "Hey, let's have dinner tonight"

      (Robotic Google voice) "May we suggest ... Chez Panisse ...


      Reservations at Chez Panisse without waiting 6 months? Unheard of.
      • by benedict (9959)
        Wrong. They start taking reservations for date X at date X - 1 month.

        Oh, and to the first poster: it's on Shattuck Ave.
      • by naoursla (99850)
        Google analyzed your phone use, web use, email use, workout use, eating schedule, sleeping schedule and everything else. It simulates you with uncanny accuracy (partly because it makes such great suggestions that you always follow.)

        It made the reservations to Chez Panisse six months ago in anticipation of this call.

        Geez... noobs...

        (wait a minute... is this real? Or is it GoogleSim?)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lelitsch (31136)
      If the GPhone can get a same day reservation for Chez Panisse [chezpanisse.com], I am so buying it.
  • by doit3d (936293) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:15PM (#20905065)

    I really do not think their apps will be integrated into phones sold in the US for the major carriers. The manufacturers will have it in the original OS install of the phone probably, but let us not forget that when US carriers purchase the phones to sell for their network, they tend to heavily modify the phones OS. Generally all useful features installed on a phone that are free to use are disabled, or erased (Motorola phones, and Verizon policies come to mind). The US carriers want you to pay them more money, when it comes to having something useful (fully functional Bluetooth, easy transfer of files, ect). They like playing the "nickel and dime you to death" game. This is why phone modding is so popular. People want the functionality back in the phones, that the carriers removed.

    In European markets, as well as others outside of North America, however, might see a great benefit here.

    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      In European markets, as well as others outside of North America, however, might see a great benefit here.

      As a European, I gotta tell you we don't have some special love for ads on our phones either. I've changed two service providers since the previous ones would demand sending me SMS for various promotions and lotteries I couldn't care less about.

      Google is milking the ads idea horribly and starting to piss off people.

      They better come up with a new trick if they want to expand outside the desktop search bus
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I hate to tell you this, but they're not in the search business they're in the advertising business.
      • Your previous providers were capable of bombarding you with unwanted ads that because they are (or view themselves) as the gatekeepers to your phone and your contract with them as a way to tie you into buying from them only.

        With more open phones/networks (ie those not locked down to the extent they often are in the US) there is room for much more competition based on quality of apps and user experience.

        I just got a new Nokia N95 ("free" if I commit to a 2 year contract) from Vodafone Australia. The b
  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:20PM (#20905105) Homepage

    "Google's agenda is to disaggregate carriers," said Dan Olschwang, the chief executive of JumpTap, a start-up that provides search and advertising services to several mobile phone operators.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:21PM (#20905125)
    It occurs to me that it is not in the best interest of Google to tip its hand prematurely on this announcement, before the spectrum auction of 700 MHz, in which Google is a bidder, is complete. If this is true then Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, and AT&T will know that Google represents a serious competitive threat and must therefore be outbid in the spectrum auction at any price so that Google can be denied the spectrum that it needs to roll out the competing services. It should be abundantly clear to everyone that the type of services that Google wants to offer in the mobile space are anathema to the entrenched providers who are used to the revenue stream from nickle and dimming practices that are enabled by absolute control of their networks. The existing carriers will certainly not offer the Google mobile OS on terms that Google would accept (Google wants freedom whereas the telcos want lock-in). This upcoming spectrum auction may prove to be very interesting indeed.
    • by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:38PM (#20905277) Journal

      You're assuming google actually wants to acquire the spectrum, rather than make the carriers do a repeat of the dark fibre build-out.

      1. get competing cell-phone carriers to overbid on spectrum
      2. now that carrier has spectrum, they build out the infrastructure at great expense
      3. oops - not enough revenue coming in - google buys out their infrastructure and license for cents on the dollar
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kcbrown (7426)

        You're assuming google actually wants to acquire the spectrum, rather than make the carriers do a repeat of the dark fibre build-out.

        1. get competing cell-phone carriers to overbid on spectrum
        2. now that carrier has spectrum, they build out the infrastructure at great expense
        3. oops - not enough revenue coming in - google buys out their infrastructure and license for cents on the dollar

        Uh, your item number 2 is suspect. Who says the carriers are actually going to build out anything? And even if

  • Someday... (Score:4, Funny)

    by ChangeOnInstall (589099) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:25PM (#20905153)
    Someday, when Google takes over the world, everything will be ad-supported, and everything will be free. My cell phone will be free and display ads to get a free ad-supported car. The car, in turn, will be painted with an ad for a free ad-supported house. The house will be totally free as well, but be plastered in advertising for free ad-supported cell phones.
    • The car, in turn, will be painted with an ad for a free ad-supported house
      and watching the traffic flow on the morning news will be like watching NASCAR, of course you'll be wearing ads on your [jump]suit too right?
  • I will be driving in my Gmobile supported entirely by add revenue and the occasional mandatory detours to "suggested vendors" while en route to my destination, using of course, Gmaps. But on the way there, I need to fuel my Gmobile with some environmentally friendly and sustainable/renewable Gfuel, which is supported solely from advertising revenues which I'm forced to watch at the pump station. But before I leave the pump station, I plan to make a visit with my Gdoctor of course which the appointment has
  • by Klowner (145731) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:50PM (#20905397) Homepage
    Considering I pay over $55/mo for my blackberry with an unlimited data connection, and I can't even tether to my laptop (use as a modem) via bluetooth or USB (at least in Linux), anything that allows more connectivity and openness is sure to be a hit with more technical users. I couldn't give half a hoot about being able to buy annoying ringtones, it's the connectivity that I want.

    So, hurry up google, I need you.
    • Hardly fair -- it costs me ~$105 a month for unlimited data/talk...
    • That's what I'm saying. Assuming they're not incredibly intrusive, I'll sit through some ads for free stuff. Don't expect me to ever act on them, though. Google is pretty good at making advertising palatable, and chances are, we'll be able to use our devices more fully if google has its way. Anything has to be better than the current mobile landscape. The US wireless industry is in the dark ages, it needs something to give it a good kick.
    • by Monx (742514)
      Get a used Treo 650 that works with Sprint.

      The plans are cheap. You can tether. You can install any Palm software you want -- and there's a lot of it. You can also write your own. It's a good phone that also takes photos and videos, plays videos, plays audio, displays pdfs, has imap and pop support out of the box, supports the gmail and google maps apps, has a full-sized sd slot, comes with editors and viewers for MS docs, and supports ssh (client, not server). It doesn't run Linux, but other than that, it'
      • by middlemen (765373)
        Get a used Treo 650 that works with Sprint. .... It doesn't run Linux,


        As an owner of a Treo 650 and a tester for Linux4palm, it is my duty to direct you to hackndev [hackndev.com] where they have been successful in running Linux on a Treo 650 and I have tested it myself.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:57PM (#20905451) Homepage Journal
    Google and others like it should force open the airwaves for mobile telecom. Telcos like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have fled to their mobile divisions because it's still much more regulated against competition, though without the "common carrier" regulations that forced competition in landlines, and cable, and carried over into Internet. Even though radio phones are the least reliable, and often the most urgently needed, the redundancy that any phone connecting to any network available at the time/place is still out of reach. Except at outrageous roaming rates. Including the charges for text and other async messaging.

    Google tried to force the 700MHz band open to any terminal device, unbundling the network from the dialtone. It didn't work. But there are other ways, and Google is persistent. Google bought lots of fiber and built lots of datacenters, so it can mount its own competitive telco. But Google's model calls for everyone to have unfettered access to all content and people on all the networks, so Google can help everyone navigate everyone else's content (and each other). They'll get there. And the incumbent telcos (and cablecos which keep their own bundled monopolies, though they just got the cableboxes unbundled from them this year) can't compete with Google. It's too rich, too popular, too smart. Unfolding history is on Google's side. I just wish it would all happen a lot faster.
  • I don't like this trend to putting advertising everywhere.... we have more then enough advertising in society. no more is needed or wanted.
  • I can imagine few things more annoying than an ad supported cell phone. I think google is stretching way way way too far on this. Google, listen bud. You search the web and do it damn well. I like your algorithm a lot, because it returns better results than previous ones. I think it's also cool that you started doing other offshoot stuff with information and searches and stuff. Pictures are cool, maps are good. Putting satellite photos on a 3d globe was cool too. And your mail service ain't too ba
  • You can use unlocked phones and installable software on several major US carriers. In Europe, you can do so on all carriers. If you don't have the phone you want or the features you want, you only have yourself to blame.
  • VOIP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Paul_Hindt (1129979)
    I can't believe how out of whack the telco and data services industries are in the United States (I don't know how they fare elsewhere). Its seriously about time we have a big push for fiber-to-the-premises, and extended WIFI coverage for rural areas. You would think that the U.S. would be able to get something like this going by now. Yes I know that Verizon and ATT have their limited coverage fiber services out now, but there is still a loooong way to go. Once we have a large-scale broadband network in pl
  • I doubt they would go the audio delivered route, but rather text ads on the display/map. Image if your cell phone could tell you about things you like where you happen to be. When I am traveling, I want to know about Thai and other interesting restaurants. Driving down the interstate, I want to know about places I can stop, that are not McDonalds. Around home, I want to know about sales and new places of business.

    A well targeted ad, is not that annoying. I am not saying this would be easy to do, but you giv

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