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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Google at T-Mobile

Searching for [Soul Melon] using a hand phone.

German mobile service provider T-Mobile is pushing what they call the “real internet” on mobile phones. They’ve teamed up with Google to bring mobile searching to the masses. (Of course, the “real internet” has been on phones for quite some time now, and device-independence was one of the main ideas behind the original design of the web. That’s why WAP1 with its WML has been replaced by WAP2 and its XHTML.)

In T-Mobile’s current TV spot for the “web’n’walk” campaign that started airing, a boy meets a girl in some kind of cafe. The girls sees a novel by an author she doesn’t know next to the boy, and the boy sees a sticker of a band he doesn’t know on the girl. So they both split for some seconds to google each other’s interest to have something to talk about when they come back. The web as a backup brain... and it all seems to work out on TV.

It’s not hard to understand why Google as starting page for smart-phones or PDAs makes perfect sense to T-Mobile. Via CNN/ Reuters, T-Mobile board member Ulli Gritzuhn said: “With the Google homepage we want to tell our customers from the first moment that they are carrying with them the internet they know from home.”

A portal with three tabs, Home, Surf the ’net, and Services. Google is displayed prominently.

To show-case the new T-Mobile cell phone portal, there’s a micro-site emulating functionality on a smart-phone. (Note: the site doesn’t seem to work well on all versions Firefox – I got black on black text on search results with Deer Park Alpha – but does work on Internet Explorer. In the end, it’s just an inline-frame browsing on a special Google search page.)
The T-Mobile demo does not actually reformat the sites for print or choose a site’s print stylesheet, but just shows them as they are on screen (making even sites with cross-media compatibility conformance hard to read). Some special sites however, like, are displayed using less cluttered content. This should make for a good read on any mobile browser.


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