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Google to Launch a Mobile Search Service in China Soon
[June 17, 2007]

Google to Launch a Mobile Search Service in China Soon

(SinoCast China IT Week Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) BEIJING, June 18, SinoCast -- Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) is accelerating its R&D in wireless application protocol (WAP) and messaging and tries to launch more mobile services in a short time, top executives of the world's largest search service provider announced in a news release on June 13.

Google wants to leverage its edge in the mobile field, keeping ahead of rivals, it noted. Google is about to debut a free messaging service about map search, said Lin Bin (transliterated), an engineering researcher at Google China.

"When people search local information on the Internet, for example, I need to look for a certain hotel near Wangfujing, a modern shopping site and a popular tourist attraction for Chinese and foreigners in Beijing, capital of China," the executive elaborated. "After finding its name, address, and telephone number, I will see a nearby pop-up box and then my mobile phone will quickly receive these information as I write my own phone number in the box." Although it appears to be a small business, it is able to serve all the mobile phone users including low-end ones, who can take an opportunity of freely enjoying a mobile search service Google offers, the executive said.

The mobile Internet, Google believed, now is stepping into a growth phase. To win favor from users is more important than to earn a profit.

"Today is just as the Internet progressed five or six years ago, and there was a wide battle for users at the time, when Internet companies managed to build their own uses bases," the executive pointed out. "A considerable return will come the same as they gained over the next five or six years or a shorter time." Google Mobile Product Manager Shen Xi (transliterated) said that Google, instead of users, would pay for the new service and the mobile carrier would charge Google. In the future, Google would not charge users even if the service was enjoyed by more and more users. Google was groping for a new profit-making mode in the mobile search service field.

So far, China's WAP Internet users have accounted for less than 20% of its total mobile phones and 85% to 90% of the mobile phone users often use messages, according to a preliminary statistics report. Those companies committed to the WAP business have to evaluate China's market conditions.

"We need to work on both messaging and WAP because the mobile Internet's transmission speed is sometimes fast sometimes slow in China, so that that causes a unpleasant feeling in users," said the executive.

Currently, China's wireless transmission speed is slower than that of Europe and America; its WAP search speed is farther away from the cable network; and it has a higher penetration and a faster transmission speed in messaging service, which has huge potential.

Copyright 2007 Sinocast LLC, Source: The Financial Times Limited

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