Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is opening a second front on its war to beat other search services from the desktop to the handset. The company already offers a version of its primary search service which works on mobile devices. But, its latest technology will allow users to search a large library of ringtones, games, and other services which they can then purchase. Google will probably offer premium positions on the search page that will be sold to make the company money.
According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Google has been working with content providers for several months to index their products.
The new service will be troubling to two sets of companies. Cell service providers like AT&T (NYSE: T) already offer ways for their customers to buy products like ringtones. And, the cell companies keep a piece of that purchase. The Google operation can by-pass that and allow consumers to use its own CheckOut service to buy content.
The other group of companies that should be troubled by this are existing search companies like Ask (NASDAQ: IACI) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Each compelling new product that Google puts on handsets gives it a foothold in the market and pushes it closer to the dominant position it has on the desktop.
Douglas A. McIntyre is a partner at 24/7 Wall St.