Google on the prowl

More and more mobile operators are viewing Google's wireless move with anxiety. The search engine behemoth is set the begin offering free wireless connection, supported by location-based advertising in major U.S. cities. Market research firm Visiongain says this and more in a just-published study. Another finding in the report is that Google is set to become a major player in the mobile search market, continuing its current strategy of partnerships with operators and manufacturers.

Google is viewing its dual bid with EarthLink to provide wireless coverage for San Francisco as a testing ground for whether location-based advertising over free wireless is a profitable business model. Google will provide a service with speeds of around 300 Kbps for free with locally targeted advertising, an advancement of the company's current successful business strategy, while EarthLink will provide 1 Mbps access for a monthly fee of $20. If successful, Google will be able to provide access to its free VoIP, email packages and Internet browsing, among other services, to major U.S. areas by 2008.

For more on Visiongain study:
- see Visiongain Web site