Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Google and Mobile Phones - Analysis

"It is understandable that Google wants to be a serious player in mobile communications," writes Martin Peers in an article on December 15th, 2009 in the Wall Street Journal. However, he follows by saying, "It is unclear why it (Google) needs to sell mobile phones to dominate mobile search."

Lets discuss: Google Goggle allows you to take a picture of a landmark or building and then automatically combine the photo with the integrated GPS coordinates to conduct an automatic query that displays information about it. This convergence of technology, GPS radio, digital camera and wireless radio to connect to the Internet are all hardware components in the phone.

The GPS and digital camera components are mobile data collectors. The information collected is used to perform automated searches. These searches can bring up the details of the objects in the photos as well as other choices for food, hotels, shopping etc, near that location. The LBS (location based services) where local companies pay money to have their presence and products marketed is the profit center.

Google would also recognize value in knowing who owns the phone. As the manufacturer and vendor, they would have a good reason to know who owns the phone. They could then connect this information with what they know about you from your existing Google Accounts. They could combine what they already know about your browsing habits and interests in the virtual world with your travels, habits and interests in the physical.

I can fully understand Google wanting to control and own the mobile data collection hardware. It will drive mobile marketing that they want going through their search engine and LBS business now and in the future.

Is it a bit creepy? Yes.

Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Marketing Consultant
twitter: @krbenedict