Google Going WAP

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From: Sally Khudairi (
Date: Wed Apr 26 2000 - 05:52:07 PDT

Computergram International
Section: 10. Internet

Google Sets Scene for Wireless Search Drive

Search engine company Google Inc yesterday laid the groundwork for a planned
series of partnership and product announcements geared at ushering the
company into the wireless and internet appliance market. As conventional web
companies begin to migrate to wireless en masse, Google quietly announced
its "commitment" to bring its engine to WAP phones and web thin clients.

Although the company was not prepared to divulge further details for another
couple of weeks, it dropped hints that tie-ins with Netscape Communications
Corp and Palm Inc may be forthcoming. In a statement, the company said it
intends to "develop new search services for wireless phone and Palm
Computing handheld users."

Google likes to bill itself as a bare-bones search engine, a fully
technological play. Although its sells keyword-related "banner ads", these
are text-only and designed to prevent from becoming sluggish. For
this reason the firm reckons its technology would be ideally suited for
wireless handheld web access devices. But 50% of its revenue comes from
selling on its technology to third party site operators, so it is difficult
to see how its graphics-free site policy differentiates the firm from the
corporate businesses of the likes of AltaVista Co, which also hopes to break
into wireless.

For similar reasons, Google thinks its engine is well-suited for thin client
internet access appliances. A spokesperson pointed to the company's
arrangement with Netscape, whereby it provides the search facility for the
Netcenter portal and therefore the search integration in the forthcoming
Netscape 6.0 browser, as evidence that Google would run well on the
appliances Netscape parent America Online Inc is developing with Gateway
Inc. But it is not Netscape 6.0 that is expected to run on these appliances,
but a variant thereof built around the open-source Gecko layout engine.
Google refused to comment on whether it has any further Netscape/AOL deals
up its sleeve.

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