BlackBerry Adds Google IM, Maps

Users of the popular wireless handheld devices will be able to use search giant Google's instant messaging and mapping software under a new agreement with BlackBerry maker RIM.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion announced Thursday that it has established a new relationship with Google Inc. through which users of the wireless communications devices can access the search giants instant messaging, local search and geographic mapping tools.

Under the deal, terms of which were not detailed, the companies will launch Google Talk for BlackBerry, a customized version of the search providers online IM client software designed specifically for use on RIMs handhelds.

Due sometime in Spring 2006, the system will allow people who have existing accounts with Google for its Gmail Web e-mail application to send and receive IM messages from their BlackBerry, as well as edit their Google Talk buddy lists and see if their contacts are logged onto the messaging system.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google said that users will be able to access the system by signing in with their Gmail user information and passwords, and promised that the IM software will allow people to integrate the application with its desktop messaging tools.

The system will have ties to RIMs onboard e-mail and calendar applications as well, offering the capability for users to share information between the various communications platforms.

As part of the new relationship between Google and RIM, which is based in Ontario, Canada, BlackBerry customers also gain immediate access to Google Local for mobile, the companys localized search tool that offers maps and satellite images to wireless devices, as well as driving directions and business listings.

The Google Local package features so-called click-to-call functions for many of the business listings it indexes, which promises the ability for users to dial phone numbers listed in the system with the push of a single button.

Both Google applications will be offered to BlackBerry customers for free, aside from their existing wireless data plan charges.

"Instant messaging and local content are two increasingly important areas of focus for mobile applications, and we are very pleased to work with Google," Mark Guibert, vice president of marketing at RIM, said in a statement.

"Google Talk for BlackBerry and Google Local for mobile will offer additional flexibility to BlackBerry customers in terms of how, when and where they stay in touch."

Next Page: Googles partnerships.