In the November 6, 2007 edition of the New York Times, I read an article entitled “Google Discloses Plans to Put a PC Into Every Pocket.” This article details Google’s new plans to help make software on cellular phones more easily available to all cell phone users. Currently, Google has no plans to introduce a phone themselves. Instead, Google has helped to form an alliance among a variety of cell phone providers and producers. This alliance is known as the Open Handset Alliance. Google plans to create software that is cheap and customizable. This software will be distributed to cell phone makers. With Apple’s introduction of the iPhone, there is a sense that the Web will become more dominant on cellular devices. Google’s ultimate goal is to have the same presence on the cell phone web that they already posses on the traditional World Wide Web.
Google is trying to make the “Linux” operating system for cellular phones. In fact, Linux is already used quite often in cell phone software because of its great flexibility. However, Google is trying to create more software for phones that is flexible. In other words, Google is attempting to produce software for cell phones that are easily customizable and, what’s more, open-source. Open-source, in this sense, means that Google would create the software, distribute it freely, and then allow programmers to easily configure and edit the program as they see fit for their production of cell phones.
Some of the applications that Google has in mind for use on the new generation of cell phones are video services and social networking. For example, one of the cool things that I found in the article concerning social networking involved using the Google Maps, specifically, the StreetView feature. The idea is that there would be a social networking program “mashed up” with this feature that would help you see what friends are around you at anytime. Imagine the great possibilities of this! I think this is one of the coolest ideas ever. For example, let us say that you in the mood for some delicious fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies are therefore going to Waring Commons in the West Residence Halls. However, you have a class in a half hour and the chances of you finding someone in your contacts list that is near your location is unlikely. With Google’s new program, you can take a look at your social networking program on your cell phone and see who is near you at the time.
I am very excited that Google is doing this. Even when Apple lowered the price of the iPhone, the price was still outrageous. To make things costlier, Apple charges a lot for the uses of the iPhone that do not include calling or listening to music. There have been tales of monthly bills of several hundred dollars from some iPhone users. Google not only plans to make more features for their software that will be a part of the next generation of phones; Google plans to make it cheaper for customer. There was no way that I could afford an iPhone, even if it was available from my cell phone provider, Verizon Wireless. Although Verizon has not yet signed onto Google’s alliance, I hope that they will and that I will be able to obtain a phone that is even cooler than the iPhone, but less expensive.