Google Tasting Orange For Mobiles

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Phones from Google in partnership with wireless provider Orange may hit the United Kingdom starting in 2008, with the devices optimized to deliver geo-targeted Google ads from local businesses.

If Google plans to take over the mobile Internet world, they appear ready to start in Europe, where the use of mobiles for Internet usage tends to be higher than that of the United States. Should they debut as predicted, the phones will arrive with plenty of Google technology on board.

A report in The Guardian’s Observer said executives from French Telecom’s Orange have visited Google’s California headquarters to discuss a deal. The two companies have very strong and positive brand recognition in the UK.

The story cited a source close to the discussions on Orange’s ‘a-peel’ to Google:

A source close to the talks told The Observer: “Google are software experts and are doing some amazing work compressing data so that the mobile user gets a much better experience. They don’t know so much about mobiles, but they are eager to learn from Orange’s years of experience.”

Key to such an endeavor will be Google’s ability to deliver its advertising to users of the phones. The company has been testing geo-targeting extensively for delivering ads to people where the ad is relevant to the person’s location.

If Google can get that done effectively enough to deliver street-level ads, the potential for the effort becomes apparent. In a busy shopping or restaurant district, no business would want to risk missing out on customers because the shop next door shows up in local ads on phones while theirs does not.

Ad competition would move the non-participants to join up with AdWords, the key product to roughly 99 percent of Google’s revenue. More participants would spur competition for better placement in the ads on the phones, which means more spending and more Google revenue.

One aspect of such a deal will be the browser Google uses in the software for the project. Google has been a partner with Opera Software for several months, and Opera has worked extensively on mobile browsers.

Those browsers have Google search as a default on them, and in turn on thousands of handsets around the world. If and when the Google and Orange partnership delivers those mobiles, we expect Opera will be the browser on them.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Google Tasting Orange For Mobiles
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