Google has predicted that the Apple iPhone will be the catalyst for mobile internet to open up in 2008.
The search engine also expects that the collapse of so-called walled gardens on operator portals to accelerate usage further. It will bring its Android project to the market next year, with ‘openness’ for developers the key.
Speaking to Mobile, Shannon Maher, a senior director at Google, said: ‘2007 has been a big year for the emergence of the mobile web. The highlight of the year has undoubtedly been the iPhone, with its combination of search, mapping, images, and videos integrated into the communications capability of a phone, proving that the right combination of a well-engineered device and reliable services can deliver an exciting new set of experiences to consumers.’
He added: ‘For us, the most exciting part of the iPhone is the experience of browsing on a mobile phone, enabled by it's compliance to web standards. The Safari browser on the iPhone has enabled new ways of delivering and consuming data on a mobile device.
‘Twelve months ago, very few people were talking about openness in mobile; now it's difficult to pick up a newspaper without seeing some mention of it. That trend looks set to continue in 2008. We think that this is important for innovation, and will ultimately benefit the users of mobile services.’
‘One last exciting point that continues to be proven out is the effectiveness of highly targeted advertisements on mobile devices. Poorly targeted ads are spam and will not be accepted on a device as personal as a mobile phone. However, when targeted and relevant, advertising is a key piece of information that can improve the user experience greatly. Our initial trials in this area have shown, for instance, that a well-targeted search ad for a local product or service is likely to be precisely what the user wants when conducting a search on a mobile device, and, as such, are extremely valuable to the user and the advertiser.
‘We believe mobile devices represent the future of the internet, and the field is still nascent. There's still a lot of unrealised opportunity in the mobile internet.’