Google has made two announcements today take them a few strides forwards in offering their services to Asian cellphone users in both Japan and China. And strategically the two markets are vital, because Japan has one of the most advanced mobile phone markets in the world and China has the largest number of users.
Google today said that they are working with KDDI, Japans 2nd largest mobile-service provider after NTT DoCoMo, to provide search service for mobile phone users in the Japanese market as of July. KDDI has more than 22 million mobile phone users, less than half of DoCoMo's, but its service is more popular among young Japanese because of services like music downloads.
Google has also announced that they are in talks to launch a search engine for cellular phone services in China with China Mobile, the nation's largest cellular provider with more than 260 million subscribers.
Google is and has struck a number of key deals with leading mobile phone operators around the world, inlcuding the largest Vodafone, that between them all have nearly 500M users. Google announced earlier in the year that the mobile sector was a critical next step for the company and they are now moving aggressively.
Mobile phone operators need Google badly, to provide search (which should prove a killer application on mobile phones) as well as helping them deliver content and adverts to mobile users. And boy do the operators need help from the Internet leaders to help them understand better how to make mobile data services and the mobile Internet a reality.
Phase 1 of the mobile Internet was about the mobile operators trying their own peoprietary, walled garden version (which failed!) and phase 2 is about acceptiong that this will not work and moving to adopt Internet open standards and Internet companies as their partners - for they cannot do it alone!