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According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), which cites its favorite source of “people familiar with the matter,” Google is working on a new search service for cellphones that will help consumers search for and buy ringtones, games, and other mobile content. Google has even considered including a “social-networking component” (whatever that means in this context). The new service sounds basically like Froogle, er, Google Product Search but for the cellphone.
Google already has cellphone versions for most of its popular services, including search, Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube. But Google will now effectively broker the sale of mobile content (likely via Google Checkout), which would divert consumers away from the likes of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. Those companies have their own storefronts for selling you stuff, of course. And they get a significant chunk of such transactions.
Considering global sales of music, video, ringtones, and other mobile content was $27.4 billion last year (and growing rapidly), it’s no wonder Google wants in on the action. But when will the search giant work on what we really need?