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There is a lot of buzz today around a Wall Street Journal article (sub req.) that reveals the latest in Google’s impending entrance into the mobile world. As reported in a recent New York Times article and supported in a previous blog post, this will likely involve a mobile operating system rather than an actual phone.

The newest information from The Journal is that Google has been talking to a few mobile carriers in the U.S. about carrying a potential Google operating system on their devices. This would be a far cry from the traditional carrier model that exerts a great deal of control over the functionality and Web accessibility of the devices that run on their networks.

A Google operating system would conversely provide an open platform on which third-party developers can build all kinds of applications. Though this is a considerable departure for such a conservative industry, promise of shared profits from Google delivered mobile ads would be the enticement to play ball. At least that is the implication from speculations made by The Journal (and consistent with our past speculation).

Also notable is this indication (as expected) that Google’s mobile OS will be made open for third-party developers to build compatible applications. Like Apple’s recent announcement that it will make the iPhone software development kit available to third-party developers early next year, this will really open up the market for mobile search and applications.

This open standard will lead to a level of innovation and product development that we have seen flourish on the Web, and mobile local search will certainly see some of this effect. Meanwhile, the overall competition that this open environment enables will be good for consumers, product developers and the health of the mobile product market.

Leave it to outsiders like Google and Apple to finally step in and change the way things are done in this industry. As I’ve said before, there will be no going back.


If you don’t have a WSJ subscription, there is good follow-up coverage and comments from Google and mobile carriers in the San Jose Mercury News.

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