Google is developing a new search service for cellphones that will be focused on mobile specific content such as ringtones and games, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The new search site is said to enable users not only to find a list of mobile content providers, but will also provide an easy purchase interface for selected sites, most likely through Google Checkout. Google has apparently been working “for months with content providers — including large entertainment companies and smaller mobile-media aggregators” in preparation for the services launch. The report goes on to say that Google may also include a social-networking component that would let Gmail users exchange content.
Google already provides a number of mobile focused products, from mobile friendly versions of Google search through to a Gmail app for mobile phones. It would appear to be a logical step for Google to offer a mobile focused site such as this. Where the offering becomes interesting is in the challenge it presents to cellphone operators who profit well from services such as ringtones. On one hand we have AT&T offering unlimited data plans on the iPhone, on the other we have cellphone providers such as Verizon which are blocking VOIP services and other web apps because it wants to milk maximum profits from every user. I’d find it hard to believe given history so far that mobile operators will allow Google to undermine one of their most lucrative revenue streams without a fight.