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Google’s Vision for Free Cell Phones + How Newspapers and Marketers Can Prepare

How much do newspapers spend on paper, printing and printing infrastructure per subscriber? Would it make more sense for them to make their content fit well on a mobile device, partner with a phone company and provide phones for cheap to their local populations?

They had better shake a leg in this direction because it looks like Google’s sniffing in that direction. Eric Schmidt thinks we may eventually see free cell phones (though not, he protests, from Google).

This CNN Money article shows Google’s bigger picture thinking on the direction of web usage.

“Schmidt said Saturday that as mobile phones become more like handheld computers and consumers spend as much as eight to 10 hours a day talking, texting and using the Web on these devices, advertising becomes a viable form of subsidy.”

How far away are we from a Google phone? Schmidt says they don’t have one in the works. It’s notable however that Google’s using the US Government’s portability mandate, which stipulates that users can keep their numbers even if they switch carriers, as a model for a user’s information ownership.

Watch for experimental Google mobile ad models to emerge in Japan first: “Google is experimenting with delivering text, brand-image and video ads onto small-screen mobile phones. It is enjoying early success in its strategy to win phone network allies in Japan, where TV viewing and shopping on phones is advanced, he said.”

So. Marketers. Here are some thoughts on what you should be thinking about. Not dumping huge budget chunks into, but dabbling with if you have the time.

One: Google OS notes that Google video offers video uploaders the opportunity to add captions. I’m not sure that if it looks inside the video or not yet for pre-existing captions (image recognition or something).

Stay tuned into learning about how Google’s understanding what’s actually inside of videos. You are experimenting with videos right? (I can imagine a pay-per-review/pay-per-post model for video at some point, especially if G and others can figure out how to determine web page relevance from videos…)

Two: Small ads – Big impact. You will have two seconds or less to grab peoples’ attention with your ads or content. Read lots of haikus before writing your mobile-targeted content. You thought learning to write for the web was tough, now try learning to write for the cell phone. If you use images to market your products study comics and bone up on your iconographic kung fu.

Three: Study the masters of hyper local. Learn more about the Wa-Po’s Read-Express. Dig the Mission Movers and their local SMS search project. Keep your eye on

Roll Loki into your local/mobile efforts, add a dash of Yokel and you’ll be stacking mad cash.

I saw (and video taped) Craig Silverstein speak at UNC recently. He was big on mobile too (forgive the poor sound quality).

Forget the $100 laptop – make mine a free cell phone 😉

So in my big picture arm waving rant did I leave anything out? Such as the Yellow Pages? Gloss over insurmountable technical or business issues? Let me have it 😉

News via Schwartz.

About the Author:
Garrett French sits at home and cackles about possible futures for mobile content which his poor phone could never handle. He writes, conducts blog PR efforts, and strategizes and executes social media creation plans.

Category SEO
Garrett French Link Building Services

Garrett French is a long time search marketer, blogger and conversatrional marketing consultant.

Google’s Vision for Free Cell Phones + How Newspapers and Marketers Can Prepare

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