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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Google on cell phones.

Google introduced software that allows users to search for local businesses and view maps and satellite images on cell phones.

Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., the two most-used Internet search engines, are expanding the content they offer on mobile handsets, a further sign of the growing connection between the Web and cell phones.

Google yesterday introduced software that allows users to search for local businesses and view maps and satellite images on handsets, according to an e-mailed statement.

SBC Communications Inc., the No. 2 U.S. local phone service company, said it will introduce a Cingular cell phone that links to Yahoo's content.

The plans highlight the eagerness of Internet and mobile-phone companies to attract consumers who want to use their phones to view information while on the move. Yahoo and Google already offer some search services on mobile handsets.

Mobile phones outsold personal computers almost 4 to 1 last year, researcher Gartner Inc. said, as handset sales grew 30 percent, more than twice as fast as PCs.

Google's new tool, called Google Local for mobile, is available on a test basis today, the Mountain View, Calif.- based company said. The service works with certain handsets from Cingular Wireless LLC, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc.

The software also allows users to search for driving directions and zoom in and out of digital maps.

Google doesn't charge for the service, although data fees may be levied under some carriers' plans.

SBC's device, planned for release next year, will let users access Yahoo services including photos, instant messaging and e-mail, Sue McCain, a spokeswoman for San Antonio-based SBC said.

The phone will be made by Nokia Oyj, McCain said. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo doesn't comment on product plans, spokeswoman Helena Maus said.

Mobile phone sales rose 30 percent last year to more than 674 million units, compared with a 12 percent increase in PC shipments to 189 million, according to Stamford, Conn. -based Gartner.

Google shares rose $4.60 to $395.03 at 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. They've more than doubled this year.

Yahoo shares rose 3 cents to $37.90 and have risen less than 1 percent this year.

SBC fell 25 cents to $23.41 on the New York Stock Exchange. It has fallen 9.2 percent this year.

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