Google Adds Free GPS To Android
Google has enjoyed a double-barreled media score today. Of the two major announcements, it is difficult to discern which is the most far reaching.
Of monumental importance with global overtones was the announcement of the decision made by the Los Angeles City Council today that it will outsource its e-mail system to Google Inc.
According to The Los Angeles Times. LA now becomes the largest city in the nation to make such a move. This hands the search giant a big victory in its quest to become a software provider to the world’s cities and businesses.
There is an aspirin shortage at Microsoft headquarters today and bartenders in Redmond will work overtime tonight.
The second and equally important event was Google’s announcement of the incorporation of advanced GPS features in the Android-based cell phones.
Google will include a free navigation system for the new Android 2.0 version of Google’s operating system for mobile phones. This will provide turn-by-turn directions similar to the portable GPS devices that are popular in the consumer electronics market.
The New York Times reported that analysts are saying that Google’s free service, if successful, could erode the sales of GPS navigation devices made by companies like Garmin and TomTom and of navigation services offered by cellphone carriers.
“There’s no doubt that those guys are going to be disrupted,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst with Opus Research.
“Obviously we like the price of free because consumers like that as well,” said Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive with a bit of hubris.
Currently, 21 percent of American adults own a personal navigation device, and that market is expected to continue growing at 33 percent a year for the next five years, according to a recent study by Forrester Research.
However, by 2013, phone-based navigation systems, which are more popular with younger users, will dominate the market, the study said.
“People are going to be moving to the phone-based solutions, but if it is free, they are going to be moving even quicker,” said Charles S. Golvin, an analyst with Forrester.
All in all, it was a very good day for Google.