Natural Search Blog


Google Browser Development Confirmed

At the end of July, I wrote that it looked like the Google Browser might actually be in the works after all, based upon their recent hire of a browser security expert. I now see this in this Wall Street Journal article from August 2nd about Google’s push into creating their own wireless phone that they are indeed working on a browser — built specifically for these proposed cellphones:

“Now it is drafting specifications for phones that can display all of Google’s mobile applications at their best, and it is developing new software to run on them. The company is conducting much of the development work at a facility in Boston, and is working on a sophisticated new Web browser for cellphones, people familiar with the plans say.”

Could this be what they’ll have that browser hacker working upon?

Yesterday, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch reminded us yesterday that Google has also invested in the Maxthon Browser not long ago, so there’s even more indication that Google could still intend to launch their own general web browser as well. The Maxthon Browser is apparently used particularly in China.

In any case, if the WSJ reporters’ sources are correct, we now have confirmation that Google is indeed working upon writing their own browser software.

Due to my interests in local search, I’m further fascinated that Google’s plans for the mobile phone specify that it should include GPS capability:

“The specifications Google has laid out for devices suggest that manufacturers include cameras for photo and video, and built-in Wi-Fi technology to access the Web at hot spots such as airports, coffee shops and hotels. It also is recommending that the phones be designed to work on carriers’ fastest networks, known as 3G, to ensure that Web pages can be downloaded quickly. Google suggests the phones could include Global Positioning System technology that identifies where people are.” 

I recently wrote an article on Geolocation, and it’s clear to me that Google’s inclusion of GPS in these devices is so that they can target locally-oriented ads and content directly to the users. GPS-enabled devices would have the highest degree of geolocational accuracy of any of the methods for associating real-world locations with the virtual-world internet users.

10 comments for Google Browser Development Confirmed »

  1. MyAvatars 0.2

    Heh, a small device with both Internet Access and GPS built in!

    What a great way to tag and track the whole population – and get them to actually pay for it too.

    I wonder how many back doors get created for the security services to remotely access the device?

    Comment by anon — 8/16/2007 @ 5:21 pm


  2. MyAvatars 0.2

    Well it is about freaking time. I’m excited about this one. Firefox has really been irritating me lately anyways.

    Comment by Humor Blog — 8/17/2007 @ 11:01 am


  3. MyAvatars 0.2

    I have a sneaky suspicion that the GPS is a dual-agenda feature. Beside targeting ads, it will allow information created by the user (say, photos from the digital camera feature) to be geotagged instantly. This will create a whole new layer of rich data to facilitate indexing once the information finds its way to a public location (such as when the user uploads the photos to their Web album).

    Comment by Steve K — 8/17/2007 @ 11:02 am


  4. MyAvatars 0.2

    I think you might be on to something regarding them having dual or triple motives for the GPS content – you’re undoubtedly right that they could be intending to use it to geotag pix or even video gathered by the users of these new phones.

    Comment by Chris Silver Smith — 8/17/2007 @ 12:59 pm


  5. MyAvatars 0.2

    It’s interesting that Google has invested recently in Maxthon Browser, which has just come out in Version 2.0 form after a long hiatus. It’s quite a good “front end” to IE6 or IE7, and like its fellow China-Developed Avant Browser (see http://www.avantbrowser.com/ ) offers far more tailorability than IE7. I wonder if Google looked at Avant Browser too. They are much of a muchness in terms of features, but Avant gets updated far more frequently and has an avid worldwide user community.

    Comment by Tony Austin — 8/17/2007 @ 4:16 pm


  6. MyAvatars 0.2

    I think that this is very good I like the Gps feather My biggest consern is who will be able to afford it?

    Comment by David Jandebeur — 8/17/2007 @ 9:46 pm


  7. MyAvatars 0.2

    Well the N95 has all this already built into it. And the best mobile browser going. At SMS-Speedway we have a vast array of handsets because we test applications on them for our clients i our usability lab and speaking strictly personally, in my opinion, the N95 is the best that there is bar none. The browser is fantastic and is the first time that a web browser is truly usable on a mobile phone. And what’s more, it’s a WAP and HTML browser combined for both WAP and the real web and it handles both beautifully.

    There is a problem with GPS that Google will not be able to fix and that’s the time taken to startup. On a mobile phone, battery life determines that you cannot have the GPS on all the time and even if you did, the fact that humans walk into buildings and are very often in places that cannot receive the GPS signals means that the GPS system will lose signal even if it’s not turned off.

    The GPS startup problem is a big one. On the N95 it can take up to 20 minutes to lock onto your location. Once it has, it’s brilliant and right now, straight out the box, the apps that come with it show you local attractions and information in a well presented, helpful and meaningful way. Moreover, you can add your own landmarks and notes and attach them to any location, meaning that you need only find you way to a place once and from then on, it is “bookmarked”. “Web” browsing in the real world, so to speak.

    Google is playing serious catchup to the N95 by the sounds of things. Why not just do a deal with Nokia and be done with?

    Comment by Bradley Kieser — 8/19/2007 @ 4:37 pm


  8. MyAvatars 0.2

    I think that this is very good I like the Gps feather My biggest consern is who will be able to afford it?

    Comment by dydy — 8/20/2007 @ 7:51 pm


  9. MyAvatars 0.2

    What’s next?

    Comment by geri — 8/21/2007 @ 9:43 pm


  10. MyAvatars 0.2

    To expensive device? not if they came with, add sponsored cell phones, phone calls or internet access don’t you thnk?

    Comment by diazul — 12/15/2007 @ 10:41 am


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