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Google throws hat into mobile content ring

Is there anything Google doesn’t do? Well, until recently, they had little invested in the mobile world. Then we heard of their play at the wireless spectrum auction. Now the news is that they’re about to enter the mobile content industry. Which makes perfect sense, since they’re in just about every other technological industry. Like many of their endeavors, the power of their search will power their mobile content plan.

The idea is to aid consumers in finding all of their mobile content via search. If someone wants to find, say, a Van Halen ringtone, they would just use Google’s mobile search to find a list of places they can find Van Halen ringtones. If they want to find a copy of Tetris, they can search and sort through the billiondy places you can find a copy of the popular puzzle game.

After proving this model is successful, Google would then take a note from its ad program and charge websites for higher placement for certain keywords in search. However, everything isn’t all smiles and sunshine:

The company has been working for months with content providers — including large entertainment companies and smaller mobile-media aggregators — to index their material and make it available via mobile search. But the project has been marred by a series of technical delays, people familiar with the matter say, illustrating that there’s a learning curve as Internet giants adjust to the peculiarities of the mobile world. It isn’t clear how soon Google plans to launch the service.

Another snag: they’re going to have to work with or around major carriers like Verizon and AT&T. Surely, those companies won’t be too pleased that Google is trying to steal some of their marketplace, and may make it tough on them. However, Google could initiate a move that would allow transactions to pass through the major carriers’ storefronts, thereby being an affiliate-like program. Still, with all the fighting over the spectrum auction, we don’t see these companies working together in the near future.

There are also rumors of Google starting a social networking kind of site where users can exchange content. This would be run through their popular Gmail platform. Google has issued no confirmation on this, but it makes sense. It wouldn’t cost them much, and the benefits could be far-reaching.

It seems Google is popping up everywhere in the news nowadays. We’re absolutely looking out for them to start their own mobile network; their recent dealings with major carriers make it unlikely they’d start an MVNO.

[Wall Street Journal]