Google Tests New Approach to Mapping

Google has introduced a new service that enables mobile phone users to determine their approximate location and retrieve mapping information without the use of GPS.

This service, currently being tested, requires Google-provided software to be installed on the phone. Because it doesn't use GPS (rather, it most likely identifies the location and bearing of the receiving cell tower), its margin of error is going to be significantly higher. However, Google claims that there will be enough data to provide neighborhood-level information.

Like most end user services from the search giant, this location service is free. Google is likely planning on selling ads delivered through the service.

Do you think Google already knows too much about you? How about your location? Search me out and let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Google To Bid on Wireless Spectrum
As Doug mentioned yesterday, Google announced late last week that it intends to bid on wireless spectrum in the 700MHz band when the U.S. Federal Communications Commission begins auctioning that resource in late January.

Bidders had until yesterday to submit an application to join the bidding, but aren't allowed to publicly state whether they have applied. The auction begins later in January, about 45 days after the application process. Participants will bid anonymously and the FCC won't reveal which company has made a bid.

Just what Google is up to is the subject of much speculation. The company certainly wants to deliver advertising on mobile devices, but it probably doesn't want to run its own cellular network. What do you think the company is planning? Connect to me at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

OpenSpan Supports Citrix, Office 2007
OpenSpan, whose application integration technology has the potential to offer application mashups, yesterday announced support for Citrix and Office 2007.

Support for Citrix means that OpenSpan can accomplish the integration of applications streamed from the Citrix Presentation Server with applications running on the desktop. That's pretty incredible.

OpenSpan now also supports on-the-fly mashups using Office 2007, for example providing the ability to grab a word or phrase from Word and automatically do a Google lookup on it.

Are you looking into application integration strategies? Tell me about your solutions at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Vivendi Games and Activision To Combine
Vivendi SA announced that it plans to acquire a controlling stake in games producer Activision and combine the company with Vivendi Games to create a rival to industry leader Electronic Arts.

Vivendi SA, based in Paris, France, values the combined company at a hefty $18.9 billion.

Games are a really big business today. Do you have a favorite console? Tell me why at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: The Google Surprise that Wasn't
Yesterday, we wrote in an item about Google's wireless spectrum bid: "...Google wouldn't likely take a traditional approach, but -- like it did with the iPhone -- surprise us all." Of course, that "it" should have been "Apple," as one reader pointed out:

Gosh darn it, "Google" sure did surprise us with that there iPhone!

Someone does read all the way down there.
-Anonymous

Got something to say? Let us have it! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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