Google Rings Up More Cell Phone Partners, Options

By Ben Charny  |  Posted 2006-05-18 Print this article Print

Google's rung up new relationships with two important Asian cell phone operators. It's also introduced a cell phone compatible version of one of its features, an RSS reader.

Japanese mobile operator KDDI, the nation's second largest wireless operator, says its customers will get better access to Google's services starting in July.

Google confirms the deal, but wouldn't be any more specific than saying KDDI users will get access to Google's search engine starting in July.

Meanwhile, Businessweek reports Google's also been in talks with China Mobile, which is China's largest cell phone operator.

What's to come from the KDDI relationship helps to illustrate why Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt recently proclaimed how he'd "seen the light" when it comes to the cell phone industry.

Chiefly, it's because cell phones out number PCs  three-to-one, and the dfference is increasing. So Google (and just about any Internet-based firm for that matter) needs to adjust to a world where lots more people use their cell phones rather than PCs to reach the Internet.

But there's also the intangibles.

KDDI plans to use Google to expose its subscribers to Web sites outside the designed-for-phones sites they usually point their phone's Web browser towards.

As to partnering with overseas firms of any kind, get used to it. Leading Internet search engines expect a great deal more of their growth to come from overseas, perhaps even eclipsing their North American markets.

To expand, they usually must hook up with firms on the ground in these countries, which have a much better understanding of the local market's nuances.

Of course these deals can sometime come with a price. Google famously learned that when it agreed to censor search results  from a search engine based in China. 

It'd be surprising if that kind of censorship is also part of the arrangement Google now apparently has with China Mobile.

In other recent Google cell phone news, the search giant has now released a cell phone version of its Google Reader used to corral any number of RSS (really simple sydication) subscription news feeds into one place. It seems a safe bet to expect more cell phone versions of Google features to come. |

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