All the talk around Google's mobile strategy is around Android and the Open Handset Alliance. But Google's other mobile strategy seemingly goes unnoticed because it's less sexy and dramatic: build compelling apps that sit on the mobile dock and drive monetization later. I live on my Blackberry and there are only so many icons that can make it to my 'desktop' beyond the regulars: inbox, calendar, contacts, etc. All the other slots belong to Google:
Gmail, Gtalk, Google Maps, Google Sync, Google Calendar, iGoogle
There are a couple themes with all of their apps:
1) They fully leverage the Blackberry and are integrated into the platform (ie I can set separate alerts for gtalk conversations, GMail messages, etc) 2) They each improve the Blackberry and are far richer than a link to a mobile page (see ESPN's talk on going mobile...) 3) The apps are constantly being upgraded and undergoing version enhancements 4) The apps provide increased utility on both the mobile and web experience
My biggest appreciation though is that Google has invested in each of these apps without inserting monetization directly into them... Instead, Google is using the apps to drive greater usage of the Google platforms, which they are better able to monetize. For instance, I converted to Gtalk and Calendar exclusively because of the Blackberry integration. Unlike AIM, I now never have to sign on/off or have multiple instances of the client running.
And perhaps most importantly for Google, it's given them a mobile presence to extend their new AdWords offerings - greater demand (pageviews) will drive greater supply (advertisers and ads) and thus greater revenue. Ultimately, Google's suite of mobile apps have made me a more loyal Google user, helped boost their mobile ad reach and will play a key role in the forthcoming Android launch.
A better way to search with Google from your mobile
Locate nearby businesses and services
A faster way to get Gmail on the go
Get quick info from Google
Watch and upload videos from anywhere
Use voice to find local businesses on the go