Google’s 2008 Mobile Initiatives

There is no doubt that Google has firmly set its eyes on increasing its presence in the mobile device market. Google has a number of projects currently running or in the works that deal directly with the mobile market. Here is a quick overview of what to look for in 2008.

Google Android Mobile Phone Platform

Google is planning to make its presence known in the mobile handset market with the introduction of the Google Android mobile platform. The platform was announced on November 5th 2007 as part of the launch of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies that have partnered together in an effort to develop open standards for mobile devices.

In an effort to make sure there is developer support Google has announced the Android Developer Challenge which will provide $10 million in awards for developing mobile applications built on the Android platform. According to the challenge website some of the suggested areas for focus include social networking, email, instant-messaging, gaming, user interfaces, location-based services and more.

Google Partners with Wireless Provider Clearwire Communications

In a deal announced this week, Clearwire will start delivering Google’s communication suite, Google Apps, to its customers. Clearwire expects to begin migrating its customers to Gmail and Google Calendar in the first half of this year.

Clearwire is excited to launch our relationship with Google to further our commitment to deliver all the Internet has to offer to a person rather than a place. Both companies are built on the foundation of providing a simple to use, rich and open Internet experience and we believe the addition of these communications tools will be a tremendous benefit to Clearwire’s customers”, said Scott Richardson Clearwire’s chief strategy officer. “We look forward to expanding our working relationship with Google further enhancing our customer’s access to the Internet — anytime and anywhere.

Google’s Intention to Bid in the Upcoming 700mhz Spectrum Auction

Probably the most exciting news for Google’s mobile strategy was the announcement earlier this week that Google will be allowed to bid on the upcoming 700mhz spectrum auction. The auction is scheduled to begin on January 24th and Google will be bidding against some of the heavyweights of the telecom industry, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Echostar Communications, Cablevision Systems, Qualcomm Inc., and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Why would Google want to own part of the wireless spectrum? Quite simply the search engine giant would like to create an open, wireless internet that would allow people to use whatever devices or software they want to access the web. Pair an open wireless internet with Android and you potentially have millions of mobile users that will be searching (and being served ads!) with Google.

It will be interesting to see exactly how much Google is willing to put on the table to become a major player in the telecom industry. In July the company said it would be willing to spend $4.6 billion in the auction if certain “open” conditions were met in the auction rules.

2008 looks to be the year that Google really pushes to cut the wires and provide its services to as many mobile users as possible.