Friday, February 1, 2008

Google Likes The iPhone

For a company that is busy building its own cellphone operating system, Google shared a lot of love for the iPhone on its earnings-related conference call today. The most heartwarming story came from Sergey Brin, the company’s co-president, who said that he uses an iPhone himself. He described the value of the My Location feature of Google Maps on the iPhone, which can figure out (more or less) where you are even though the iPhone can’t receive G.P.S. navigational signals. “I was at a conference in Switzerland,” he said, presumably referring to the World Economic Forum conference in Davos. “I was able to find a really small hotel, then switch over to the satellite view on my phone to figure out I needed to take a funicular to get up there. It was a really amazing experience.”Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, is of course on Apple’s board of directors. And Google has been putting a lot of effort into its applications for the iPhone, perhaps because these will serve as models for what it will offer on its own Android phones. Google has said that it is now getting more Web traffic from the iPhone than from any other type of mobile device. “We are particularly interested in looking at the iPhone because the Web browsing experience is so good, and because of the optimization work we did,” said Jonathan Rosenberg, Google’s senior vice president for product management. An analyst asked Mr. Schmidt for his view of the iPhone. He didn’t mention his position on Apple’s board. Rather, he said the phone — and others like it — will bring in more dollars for Google.“The iPhone is the first of a whole generation of products that will be much more search intensive,” he said. “With those search opportunities comes ad monetization.”

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