Google/Yahoo offer Cell Services



C/Net and the Washington Post report that Google and Yahoo are rolling out new services for wireless devices.

Starting today, cell phones can access Google Maps. Google’s application can be used on more than 100 current phones that use the Java Brew programming language that can download the Google Local application. From there, they can conduct searches in a specific location and view results plotted on a map.

Google’s application and service is free, but users will need an Internet data plan from their cellphone provider, which adds $10 to $25 to monthly bills. Google Mobile and Yahoo Mobile currently provides search on cell phones, but the services are more text oriented.

Google Maps is getting some competition from Yahoo Maps Beta. Local maps have geoRSS feed for searches, showing local traffic conditions, for example. The default view is Flash-based, with an Ajax version of the API available.

Yahoo will introduce its own cell phone, through a partnership with SBC. Operating on the Cingular Wireless network, the phone will link music, photos and e-mail with consumers’ existing online Yahoo accounts, address books and preferences. It have an MP3 player, a 1.3-megapixel camera and a removable memory card. The SBC/Yahoo phone will be manufactured by Nokia and is expected to be available early next year for $200 to $300.

Om Malik is not impressed with the Yahoo phone deal:

To sum it up: this is an announcement of an anti-MVNO; a phone that is most likely to have an interface tied specifically to Yahoo services like email and search; and it will be a device that hawks Yahoo services.

In (somewhat) related news:

  • LinksysInfo has the inside scoop on that new Linksys Wireless-G IP phone WIP300 which has appeared on the FCC website. It will allow you to make phone calls using your broadband connection at home, an office or a public hotspot.
  • Sprint Nextel announced today a walkie-talkie service for sharing photographs.

    Nextel Direct Send Picture lets customers send a picture to a person on the other end of a Nextel Walkie-Talkie call, without interrupting the call itself. The picture simultaneously appears on both the user’s and recipient’s phones during the call, and they can both view and discuss it.

    Direct Send Picture is available immediately on the Motorola i870 phone, and will be included on all future Nextel phones, according to company officials. Software upgrades to enable Direct Send Picture will be available by the end of the year for several Nextel phone models, including the Motorola i850, i760, i560, i355 and i275.

    The Direct Send Picture will be free until Feb. 28, 2006. Following the promotional period, users will have to pay a per-image fee of 25 cents for images sent and received.

  • Google Talk, Google’s messaging and VOIP application, is now Video enabled with a new plug-in from Festoon. Using the video plug-in, Google Talk users can now see who they are talking to, in real time. Festoon, which also has the most popular video plug-in for Skype with more than 2.75 million downloads, allows Google Talk users to talk to and see each other, play games, share pictures, or conducting business.
  • ComVu allows you to webcast live using your smart-phone or PocketPC. The feed goes to ComVu’s server where other users, on a computer, smart phone or PPC, can pick it up after a 10-second delay from the Web site.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

Leave a Reply