Google and Yahoo in mobile race

There’s growing speculation in the Valley about the next move(s) of Google. Although it’s a "public" company since the IPO, its business directions are still very secretive. So people are turning towards cold war behaviour, when we used to analyze the Kremlin’s (lack of) actions in great detail as it was the only information available. Here’s what some Google watchers are saying and concluding about where the company seems to be going:

  • While dominating PC based search, Google also wants to become the mobile search czar for the 2 billion mobile phone users.
  • BusinessWeek discovered that the company quietly acquired Android Inc., the 22-month old start-up ran by people coming from mobile device maker Danger, known for the SideKick smartphone (made famous by Paris Hilton when she lost it…)
  • Buying dark fiber to connect antenna’s to support a WiFi or cellular network?
    New Gmail accounts are now tied to US cell phone numbers if you want to use the new GoogleTalk instant messenger client
  • SilliconBeat reports that Google appears to have acquired a company called ZipDash which offers maps and traffic info for your mobile phone
  • Raising $ 4 Bln. to make an acquisition of a mobile or wireless company, according to SilliconValleyWatcher because mobile phones tell your location and location is "everything" for advertisers, Google’s biggest customers
  • Using the $ 4 Bln. to put up a nationwide (USA) WiFi network, GoogleNet, according to Om Malik

While it’s not yet entirely clear what Google’s plans are, there are a few others interested in this mass market, including Microsoft with its Windows Mobile phone platform and not to forget Yahoo!.  Yahoo’s COO Dan Rosensweig said: "the mobile Internet industry is at a "tipping point." As mobile use continues to grow, more customers will want access to their Yahoo! services." Rosenweig also claimed, "The Internet has become essential. The industry is ready, and mobile usage is exploding". Earlier this month Yahoo head-hunted Nokia’s Christian Lindholm, known as the godfather of the Series 60 platform user interfaces, to head up the Global Mobile Products division at Yahoo.

So what are Google and Yahoo up to? Introducing a WiFi based mobile phone and network? Applications that run on a Linux mobile phone and pull you towards their portal or search engine? A Skype kind of solution for low cost calls based on VoIP? Interesting times for consumers, mobile phone companies and Google watchers!

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