Google: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s new mobile search technology and rumored gDrive uber-access project aren't necessarily aimed at business users, but corporate types are still interested in the possibility for quick and dirty remote access anyway.

The search technology presents mobile phone users with a stripped-down search page and the ability to search through Web pages "that have been specifically designed for mobile."

Google isn't saying too much about how it renders the Web pages yet, and didn't answer calls about the mobile search technology. There have, of course, been plenty of attempts to bring the Web to the tiny screens of cellphones before, some more successful than others. Unstrung will report back on the effectiveness of Google's effort after we have used it for a little while.

The even more shadowy gDrive project, which seems like it may be little more than slideware at the moment, is said to promise access to online files of many different types on any type of device. This could be interesting for a certain type of enterprise user, says Roger Cass, CTO of healthcare company MediSync in an email today.

"An enterprise might maintain all 'business' data on a secure storage medium within the 'closed' enterprise, but allow users to access... gDrive for other non-sensitive storage," Cass writes.

"For SMBs who are willing to sacrifice security for convenience, I can see this kind of resource being invaluable for dynamic, highly transitive businesses."

Security is -- naturally -- the big question around this kind of massive storage project. "What prevents me from sharing my password, thus allowing a huge hole for sensitive data to be exported?" Cass wonders.

"If I were pondering a non-Google solution to access-anywhere storage, I would be looking for multi-factor authentication among other things. That constraint does not go away with gDrive. Since details are sketchy, I can't say if or how Google would support such security."

Nonetheless, it seems as if users will have to ponder issues further as more companies start to out these kind of always-available remote access services.

Google isn't alone in pushing these these types of applications, as Forrester Research Inc. analyst Charles Golvin notes.

"I think others already hold the view that they would like to hold your 'golden' data repository -- e.g., Sprint's voice command service or Yahoo Go both seek to lock in users by providing added value based on your data residing in the network," Golvin notes.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 4:01:42 AM
re: Google: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow For what it's worth, I find Google Mobile more frustrating than useful.

Maybe it will improve with time.

lrmobile_emma 12/5/2012 | 4:01:41 AM
re: Google: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow Gabriel - I've had the complete opposite experience.

I've been a heavy user and huge fan of Google Mobile for the past two months on Motorola V550 on the Cingular Network. Here are some things I've been able to do:

- find a hotel within 0.5 miles of one that the hotel chain mistakenly unbooked me from
- find sushi restaurants and driving directions while on the road
- look up phone numbers for health care providers I had appointments with while driving
- I've been lost several times while traveling and driving a rental car. Google Mobile has routed me back to the airport accurately and swiftly
- located the closest hotel within a given chain to Logan airport when a colleague got bumped from his hotel
- located the closest gas station to the airport right before returning a rental car
- I had a flat tire - the dealer wanted $230 for the replacement. In 1 minute, I had called 2 tire dealerships within a 2 mile radius and saved $100 on the new tire
- found 3 florists the day before Valentine's day outside of my home town during and errand, called them up, compared prices, and bought flowers for a loved one

There is no shortage of cool things you can do.

Get with the program Gabriel!
IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 4:01:40 AM
re: Google: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow OK, good retort. Search is useful, obviously. And I think I like the way it renders pages for your mobile browser... on balance it seems better than using Opera.

Finding nearby stuff is cool if you're out of your local area. But this has been a standard feature on UK mobiles for years. The Google version doesn't seem much better or worse than what we had.

So, I dunno, maybe as I get more familiar with goog mobile, I'll accept it more easily.

What's your favorite mobile app?

I like Transport for London Journey Planner linked to Orange. It figures out where your nearest station is, and tells you the time of the next few trains to wherever youGÇÖre going. It does buses and tubes as well. ThatGÇÖs useful.
IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 4:01:39 AM
re: Google: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow I'm certainly no expert on any of this, but thought it would be worth pointing out this thread about goggle mobile and advertizing:

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