Google Mobile

No discussion of Google products would be complete without mentioning the work they have done to insure they not only have a strong presence in the "smart" cellphone market, but have clear intentions to make Google products available on every platform which connects to the Internet. 

From Google's Mobile Blog (12/7/2009) -

"Mobile devices straddle the intersection of three significant industry trends: computing (or Moore's Law), connectivity, and the cloud. Simply put:
  • Phones get more powerful and less expensive all the time
  • They're connected to the Internet more often, from more places; and
  • They tap into computational power that's available in datacenters around the world
Just think: with a sensor-rich phone that's connected to the cloud, users can now search by voice (using the microphone), by location (using GPS and the compass), and by sight (using the camera). And we're excited to share Google's early contributions to this new era of computing."

Until the past few weeks, the only significant Internet-capable phone was the iPhone.  As good as the iPhone is, it is only available through AT&T and it's spotty network coverage.  Within the past few weeks, Google has partnered with Verizon to offer the much anticipated "Android" which has the advantage for stateside users of being on Verizon's network and the additional advantage of being an "open" platform for phone applications, unlike the iPhone which is "closed" and only open to developers whose software is approved though Apple's often maligned approval process.   The Android phones, for example, come with FREE turn-by-turn GPS written by Google which works in conjunction with Google Maps.  It even has a feature to switch to "Street View" when you're near your destination.  This application was offered to Apple for the iPhone, but was turned down because Apple is making money selling paid (fairly expensive) GPS applications from Tom-Tom, Magellan, and others. Incidentally, many of Googles features are accessible with an iPod Touch when connected to a wifi hotspot. Some argue that having a cheap basic phone for calls and an iPod Touch give users the best bang for the buck. Unlike the iPhone, the "Touch" has no built-in GPS so any of those applications won't work.

Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this session to cover Google's smartphone efforts in detail, but I will include some iPhone screen shots below to demonstrate how useful Gmail, Calendar, Docs, etc. are when viewed on the screen of a handheld device.
Gmail iPhone Screen
 Google Calendar iPhone Screen

 Google Maps iPhone Screen
 Picasa Web Albums iPhone Screen