Monday, December 31, 2007

Google: I am in your White Spaces

Google's co-founder Larry Page was quoted in Fortune magazine's Techland blog in reference to the 700 MHz spectrum auction:
"I don’t think we feel like there is a desperate need for us to have to bid to win or anything like that," Page told analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call last month. "We have many, many different options available to us as a company in terms of spectrum."

One of these "many different options" for Google is surely white spaces, the portions of spectrum between the TV channels. Google, along with Microsoft, Intel, HP, Earthlink, Dell, etc., is part of the Wireless Innovation Alliance (also known as the White Spaces Coalition), which is working hard to have the white spaces freed up for use. Right now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not allow this.

In mid-2007, Microsoft had sent FCC prototype White Space Devices (WSDs) to test the effective use of the white spaces spectrum to prove that such use would not affect existing TV channel broadcasts. The FCC concluded that the WSD testing failed. That was not FCC's most shining moment because it tested a defective device and did not bother to test the backup device Microsoft had sent.

More recently in early Dec 2007, the Google Public Policy blog announced that Google "met last week with some of the FCC's engineers and presented encouraging test results based on ongoing trials of wireless technologies" related to the white spaces.

Clearly, Google is very committed to opening up new channels for Internet access, wireless channels in particular. Other young tech companies (as opposed to old telecom companies) are also very much interested in seeing such channels open up. It is going to be very hard to stop them. They will succeed sooner or later.

The day is not very far off when we will have free wireless Internet access in most parts of the human-populated world, just as we have free TV broadcasts today. This does not mean paid Internet service will go away. Just like we have paid premium-content TV channels now, we will also have paid premium-speed (read very high speed) Internet access as well. But what passes for broadband speeds in most of the US today, will be available wirelessly, for free, in the not too distant future.

YouTube App for Helio Ocean

The Google Mobile blog talks about the custom-built YouTube app from Helio which lets you watch, record, upload, and share YouTube videos on your Helio Ocean phone:
You can even let everyone know where you shot a video by attaching a "geo-tag," which includes the GPS coordinates for the location where you shot the video.

You can also personalize your YouTube experience on the Helio Ocean by customizing your video feeds like My Subscriptions, My Favorites, My Playlists, My Videos and Received Videos. Of course, you can always view traditional YouTube categories like Most Viewed, Most Recent, Top Rated and Recently Featured.



Note that this YouTube app is from Helio and not from Google. It would be nice if Google released a similar app for mobile phones. Right now, YouTube has a mobile version of its website.

Links: GTalk translator bots, CallFreq Android app, Google's speech recognition training, UK spectrum auction, Google Mobile in Africa & India

  • Translation bots available for Google Talk - Just add a bot as a GTalk contact, send a message to it in one language and it will echo the message back in another language. For example, if you add en2es@bot.talk.google.com as a GTalk contact and send it a message in English, it will echo the same message back to you in Spanish. Check the link for a list of other language-pair bots available from Google right now.
    Tip: If you have an IM app on your mobile phone which can communicate with your GTalk contacts, this could be used as a handy pocket translator. Be warned though, translations by these bots are not very accurate.

  • New Android App: CallFreq - Described as a "new generation of a phone dialer", which "intelligently analyzes the calling patterns of an Android communicator user and provide you only with the contacts that you currently need most". The current release sorts your contacts into those you call most frequently.

  • Google's speech recognition software is being trained by GOOG-411 phone service users. We can expect this training to be put to good use in future targetted mobile advertising algorithms as well.

  • Might Google be interested in bidding for the broadcast spectrum in UK? For those of you who might not know, UK is also planning on auctioning off the spectrum that is/was by analog TV service there. A spokesman for Google UK said that FCC restrictions meant that the company was not allowed to comment on its plans in this area anywhere in the world.

  • Google partners with Safaricom in South Africa to offer Google services on mobile phones there. Interestingly, it sounds like these services are being offered through the Google Apps route. Safaricom customers will have email addresses which are their mobile numbers followed by @safaricom.com and those who cannot access Google services such as Gmail through their mobile phones can access it via Safaricom's website. Sure sounds like Google Apps to me. Good move there by Google - offering Apps to Safaricom and in turn extending its reach to their customers' cell phones.

  • Search Engine wars on mobile phones are sure heating up in India. There are seven times more mobile phone users in India than PC-owners. So, it is natural for Google, MSN and Yahoo! to fight it out for mobile users in India.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rumor: gPhone debut in Mobile World Congress?

The latest rumor to hit the blogosphere is that the godPhone might debut at the Mobile World Congress in February 2008. Why all the hoopla? Apparently, Google has booked two stands on the expo floor, which is making everybody wonder why Google needs so much space.

It will be interesting to see what Google has to show off at the expo. Whether or not any real gPhones are shown at the expo, one thing is for sure - there will be lot of publicity for Google's mobile apps and the mobile versions of their services.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Android Bugs : How bad is it right now?

A recent Wall Street Journal article about bugs in the Android SDK quoted a developer proclaim that Android is "clearly not ready for prime time". This led to a flurry of follow-up articles in traditional media and the blogosphere which would lead a casual reader to conclude that Android doesn't work!

The reality is not so bad. The WSJ article seems to be based mostly on the writer's interaction with one developer, and most other articles are merely regurgitated versions of the WSJ piece! There is a much better article on Arstechnica which concluded that "it's a mixed bag". This article is different from all the others in one important way: the author himself tried his hand at Android coding before writing the article.

The Arstechnica article quotes a Google developer who aptly sums up what seems to be the main issue facing Android developers right now: "it's a process problem, rather than a technical problem."

Yes, majority of the complaints from developers seems to be about:

1. Lack of 100% documentation about every single feature and functionality in the Android SDK.
2. More importantly, lack of a proper issue/bug tracking system which is public and up-to-date on the status of resolutions.

To make up for the lack no. 2 above, the Android development community has set up an independent Wiki to track known bugs. I am not sure how complete and up-to-date this Wiki is. Nevertheless, it is quite revealing: there are just 6 critical bugs and 24 non-critical bugs listed as of now, in addition to 5 feature requests.

I don't know about you, but being in software development for 10 years, I think those are damn good numbers for a very early, pre-release version of most non-mission critical software. So much for reports that claimed Android doesn't work!

[via Wall Street Journal and Arstechnica]

Android officially enters Japan

Japan's largest mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Inc has tied up with Google to promote Google's mobile services such as Gmail, search, calendar and Picasa, to users of its mobile Internet service. DoCoMo is also considering offering an Android-based phone in the second half of 2008.

I came across many news reports with this information. Curiously, not one of the reports mentioned Android by name. In fact, none of them even mentioned any of the other Google products by their name, instead referring to Google's search, e-mail, scheduling and photo-saving features. Also, although this is an official and formal tie-up between DoCoMo and Google, there is no mention of whether or not DoCoMo joined the Open Handset Alliance. These omissions are rather conspicuous.

[Via journalgazette.net]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Google gives Calendar love for BlackBerry & Picasa love for iPhone

The Official Google Mobile blog announced some calendar love for BlackBerry & Picasa love for iPhone.

Google Sync for BlackBerry
You can now use the Google Sync for mobile to sync-up your Google Calendar with your BlackBerry's native calendar. Just point your BlackBerry's browser to http://m.google.com/sync and download Google Sync. From then on, any changes to your Google Calendar will appear on your BlackBerry calendar, and vice-versa.

Google Sync will two-way synchronise your BlackBerry with the default calendar associated with your Google account. You have the option of selecting other calendars to download, but you cannot update them from your BlackBerry. You have automatic or manual synchronization options. The automatic sync option checks for updates every two hours. You can also decide how far into the future you want to sync your BlackBerry and Google calendars. You can set the option to sync from 4 to 24 weeks.

Warning: If you use Reset Sync on the Options menu of Google Sync, it will delete all events on your BlackBerry calendar. Not just the ones inserted by Google Sync.

Picasa for iPhone
After Google's main page (as opposed to the iGoogle homepage) got a special version for the iPhone, it is now Picasa's turn. From the Google Mobile blog:
Today, I'm happy to tell you that we've just released this new iPhone interface for Picasa. After you go to Picasa on your iPhone and log in, you can quickly see all your albums that you've uploaded to Picasa Web. If you click on any of the albums, you can get a full view of your picture with comments from your friends. Or you can click on Slideshow, sit back and watch the pictures scroll. You can also search for photos in your album or through community photos. Finally, with one of my favorite features, you can view your friends' albums through favorites.

What are you waiting for? If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch go to http://picasaweb.google.com and check it out.

Compared to any other mobile browser, the only extra feature for Picasaweb on the iPhone seems to be the slideshow feature. And I am sure the pictures look much better on the iPhone, of course.

It is worth noting that Google is targetting recent features and updates to the BlackBerry, the most popular phone in the enterprise space, and to the iPhone, the most [insert iPhone/Apple fanboy adjective here] phone in the consumer space. This is a sure sign that Google wants to play on the mobile phones of both the business users and the non-business users.


[via Official Google Mobile blog]

Monday, December 10, 2007

Engadget Interviews Peter Chou, CEO of HTC

Engadget scored an interview with Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, the top Asian cellphone maker . Frankly, I don't know what to make of the interview.

Majority of the interview questions were about Android. Unfortunately, the HTC CEO gave very few specific, clear answers. To begin with, he is not a native English speaker, and "some of his replies have been edited (by Engadget) for clarity". To compound matters, there was a certain ambiguity in his answers, which seemed deliberate. And then, he was trying to be politically correct vis-a-vis the Windows Mobile platform (HTC is a big maker of Win Mobile handsets).

For some reason, Engadget seemed to frame many of the Android questions, pitching it against Windows Mobile. This was unnecessary, and it seemed to put Peter Chou on the defensive. He was being very careful not to appear to say anything bad about Win Mobile. Perhaps, he might have answered with more openness if Engadget had asked about Android, without referring to Win Mobile in the same breath.

About two-thirds of the way down into the interview, Jason Gordon, HTC Global Director of Communications, added his two cents to his CEO's response. After this point, the language of the answers changed. But we are not sure if this is because of Engadget's editing of Peter Chou's responses, or if Jason Gordon continued to answer all questions from then on. However, the change in langauge did not lead to any more clarity in the responses. HTC continued to give safe answers, so as not to ruffle their partners, be they Microsoft or the US wireless carriers.

Just about the only clear answer was given when Engadget asked if HTC was going to put Android on any of their existing hardware:
Is that something you have the intention of doing? Using current hardware platforms to run Android?

No.

So it's still going to be about the vertically integrated approach going forward? Not just about throwing any operating system on any piece of hardware.

Right. But, of course, we have a lot of the latest leading-edge wireless technology, so some of our software can definitely leverage that. But products need to be very specific. Today, people really interface with and are really passionate about [our] products, so they need to feel something really unique about them.

So, at least we know that HTC is designing totally new handset models for Android. It will be interesting to see how different the hardware specifications for Android will be compared to some of their existing smartphones.


[via Engadget]

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Links: Android running, 700 MHz Auction guide, Cellphone service survey, Object DB for Android

Android's and iPhone's security compared?

When you see an article grandly titled, "Google's Android vs. Apple's iPhone: Which is More Secure?", what might you expect? That somebody has managed to compare the Android and iPhone systems in terms of:
  1. How easy it is to hack into the system, snoop around for information, control the system, etc.
  2. How easy it is to infect the system with virus, spyware and other such malicious software.
  3. How easy it is to prevent or clean-up after such attacks.
And similar other questions.

Instead, Kenneth van Wyk, a "20-year veteran of IT security" and "co-author of two security-related books", compares the two systems on the following basis and gives them the following grades:
  1. In Android, each application is assigned its own unique Linux user-ID at the time of installation and this ID is used to run the application. Where as, in the iPhone, "applications appear to all run with root (administrative) privileges on a single UNIX kernel". Based on this difference (and appearance), Android gets an A- grade and iPhone gets an F or "F-, if that’s possible".
  2. Android is an open system, which has led to at least one product vendor announcing the development of security applications. We have heard of no such thing about the closed iPhone system. Grades: Android B, iPhone D.
  3. iPhone has a well-developed and easy system for providing updates and patches through iTunes. We don't know of any such thing for Android. Individual handset makers will probably have to come up with their own update and patching process for their particular phones. Grades: Android INCOMPLETE, iPhone B+.
And, after this very arbitrary and subjective comparison, he declares Android to be the more secure platform!

Granted, at the very beginning of the article, Kenneth van Wyk, admits that there is no Android handset available right now for him to compare with the iPhone. So, this is an "apples and oranges" comparison. Nevertheless, this comparison and conclusion is not convincing enough.

In fact, it is very obvious that the open nature of Android, the ease of development of applications which control the phone's features and functionality, and the corresponding ease in installing such applications will see a proliferation of malicious software for the phone. The more popular Android becomes, the more threats there will be. It is actually a pretty scary situation to imagine something as personal as the cell phone being compromised. Imagine someone getting access to all your most personal information and conversations. Imagine someone using your phone to silently route expensive calls, for which you get dinged on your bill!

I think it is too early to comment on how secure future Android handsets will be. We can comment only on what is available now - Android SDK. And, it is certain too early to compare just the SDK with the iPhone to reach any convincing conclusion right now.


[via Earthweb]

Friday, December 7, 2007

Google Mobile Updater for BlackBerry

Google Mobile Updater BlackBerry Screenshot Google has released a one-click app to update all the Google Mobile products on your BlackBerry.

This might seem a little pointless right now. Google has only two phone-installed mobile apps (as opposed to web apps) which may need updates to be installed on your phone. These apps are of course, GMail and Google Maps. Almost all other Google mobile apps are web-based, always loading their latest version on your phone's browser.

So, what does the Google Mobile Updater do? Apart from updating GMail and Google Maps apps on your phone, it puts handy short-cuts to the other web-based mobile apps. Creating short-cuts right there on the phone might seem like a small change, but it could lead to a huge surge in the usage of these apps due to the ease of access. In the absence of these short-cuts, users had to type in the URL of the apps on their phone's browser.

When I installed the Mobile Updater on my BlackBerry, I chose to install all the products it would install. Apart from installing the Mobile Updater itself, it updated my GMail and Google Maps apps, and created shortcuts for only the following mobile apps/services: Search, Picasa, Docs and News. Whenever there is an update to be installed, the Mobile Updater icon on the phone will change to show a green arrow:
Google Mobile Updater Icon showing updates available

You can get the Mobile Updater by visiting mobile.google.com on the BlackBerry's web browser. The Mobile Updater is only available for BlackBerry right now. No doubt, there will be versions available for other phones soon enough.


[via Official Google Mobile Blog]
[Image courtesy: Official Google Mobile Blog]


Related: Google Mobile: Products and Countries Lists

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Android Developer Challenge: Real-time Android Emulator

Here's a fun project for those of you participating in the Android Developer Challenge.

Create a desktop emulator, which mimics everything that's happening on your Android phone screen... in real time.

I know, the Android SDK already comes with an emulator. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about an emulator on your computer screen showing you the exact same thing that's happening on your Android phone screen, while it is happening. This would seem almost as if the images from your Android phone were being projected onto the computer screen via Bluetooth or WiFi. But, it's not just a projection of screen images. It should be a full functional emulator, which allows you to do everything your Android phone can do.

Couple of scenarios off the top of my head where this would be fun:
  • Suppose you are sitting at your computer in one room of the house, and your Android phone is somewhere in the pocket of your pants, in the wardrobe, at the other end of the house. When a call comes in on your phone, you should be able to accept the call and have a conversation through the emulator on your computer screen. You should be able to make calls, send and receive text messages, play phone games or use any of the fun applications that run on your phone, via the emulator.

  • In another scenario, suppose your Android phone gets stolen. You should be able to bring up the emulator on your computer and see exactly what the thief is doing with your phone, listen in on his calls, etc.. Heck, you should even be able to control the phone's camera to take a picture of the thief and/or his surroundings.

No doubt, there are many other interesting scenarios or applications where such an emulator would be useful.

The best part of this project is that, the Android SDK already has an emulator. So, developers just have to figure out a way to connect the real phone to the emulator, and make them mimic each other.

Sound like fun yet? Yeah, I thought so!


Related: Android Developer Challenge: Application Idea

Android Developer Podcast

The Android Developer blog posted a podcast by two architects on the Android engineering team, Dianne Hackborn and Jason Parks:
Dianne and Jason share a background at both Be and PalmSource, and talk about how that experience has been applied to Android. Other topics covered include:
  • Some history behind the project
    The high level architecture of Android. For example, how Linux processes handle the VM and manage security (the VM doesn't handle it)
  • Details on the Dalvik VM and how it is optimized for small devices
  • The architecture: From Intents to Views to Permissions and more
  • How XML is slow, but the tools convert the XML to a nicer format for you
  • The tooling and steps for building an application on Android
  • How so many objects have a URL, and how the environment is like a mini-SOA (Services across processes instead of across the network)
  • Thoughts on how you program for small devices, and things to watch out for if you move from the desktop
  • The control, or lack of control that you have over the application lifecycle
  • "Everything you do drains the battery"
  • The thread story: they exist, you don't have to deal with them if you don't want to, and the UI
  • Using XMPP for messaging

That's quite a list! I have not heard the podcast yet, but if something in it screams out at me when I listen to it, I will be sure to blog about it.

You can download the podcast here: Android Developer podcast by Dianne Hackborn and Jason Parks


[via Android Developer blog]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Harold Feld's 4 reasons why Google intends to win the 700 MHz Auction

So far we have seen fanboy optimism that Google will bid in the 700 MHz spectrum to win, cycnical suggestions by analysts and bloggers that Google will not bid to win, and even a pseudo-psycho interpretation of Google's words on its intent to win.

Finally, we have something a little more reasoned: Harold Feld, Senior Vice President of the Media Access Project, snorts some oak leaves and gives Four Reasons Why Google Will Bid To Win in the 700 MHz Auction. The reasons listed are (in the words of Harold Feld):
  1. Google Has A Different Vision For the Wireless World It Can Only Achieve By Owning Licenses.
  2. Google Has No Desire To Be A Network Provider. But It Wants To Be A Network Architect.
  3. Anonymous Bidding Changes Everything.
  4. When Google Commits, It Does So All The Way.

Harold Feld offers excellent arguments supporting each reason. Just one example:
For Google, more than wireless is at stake. Google can read the writing on the wall for wireline, even if dumbass regulators in DC can't. Given enough time, the cable/DSL duopoly will gradually morph away from the existing open internet model to become more and more like wireless is today: you buy a basic contract for the core service and everything else costs extra. The provider bundles everything, controls the nature of outside attachments, applications, etc., etc., always taking its chunk off the top and driving up the price to everyone else. But if Google is successful in transforming the wireless world, it will also stop the transformation of the wireline world. By contrast, if Google can't stop the transformation of the wireless world, it is probably screwed on the wireline side as well.
.
This is the type of well-thought analyses we'd like to see more often in the blogosphere, as opposed to the usual tech blogging at warp speed. Needless to say, I have long given up hopes of any real tech analysis of good value coming out of the MSM*.



[via Wetmachine]


Related:
Google announces participation in 700 MHz Auction
Does Google intend to win the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction?


*MSM = Main Stream Media

New Google interface for iPhones

Good news for iPhone (or iPod Touch) users. The Google Mobile blog has announced a new Google interface for iPhones which it describes as "fast and fluid":
Our guiding principles were "fast" and "fluid." We think we've achieved both, thanks to some AJAX magic made possible by the iPhone's Safari browser. To try it out, just go to www.google.com on your iPhone.

There are some screenshots posted, but screen shots are not the best way to show a "fast and fluid" interface. Why didn't they just post a video on Youtube? I am sure someone will post a video of this soon enough. I will keep an eye out for the video and update this blog soon as it is available.

Considering that iPhone's Safari browser is based on the same WebKit engine as Android's browser, will this be available for Android as well? If not, when? I have posted the question on the blog post.


[via Google Mobile blog]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Gmail interface for AIM

As predicted by the Google Operating System blog (no connection to this blog), Google Talk in Gmail has 'integrated' with AIM.

As per the Official Gmail blog, this feature is only available to Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2 users. In other words, it is only available in the new version Gmail.

Also, you need to login to AIM through Gmail chat, to be able to see your AIM buddies and interact with them. That means, this is not true cross interaction between the GTalk system and AIM system. Gmail is just providing another interface for the AIM system via the Open AIM framework. An example of true interaction between different instant messaging platforms is Yahoo! Messenger users being able to chat with Windows Live Messenger users without needing an MSN / Live ID.

I have a few questions for Google / Gmail / GTalk team:

1. Two years after first announcing that GTalk and AIM will communicate, the best you could do is just give a Gmail chat interface for AIM users? What was the roadblock for giving us true interaction between the two messaging platforms?

2. If you are just going to build Gmail / GTalk interface to other instant messaging platforms, and require the users to explicitly login to that platform, why not provide similar interfaces to Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger? Connecting to Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger would have been a bigger offering to your users, considering the much larger number of people who are already on these other systems. If the small Meebo.com team could do it (very nicely), surely you can do it too?

3. What about the GTalk desktop client? When is it going to see some much needed upgrade?


[via Official Gmail blog]

Verizon makes it official: We are open to Android

Since almost nobody (AFAIK*) seemed to be getting it, except this blog, Verizon itself had to come out and make the announcement in the BusinessWeek: Verizon Embraces Google's Android.
(Verizon Wireless's) Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam says it now makes sense to get behind Android. "We're planning on using Android," McAdam tells BusinessWeek. "Android is an enabler of what we do."
.
.
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When Verizon executives and engineers examined Android's software tool kit, however, they were impressed. "Clearly the Android system gives a lot of developers the opportunity to develop applications for a wide range of handsets," says McAdam. Not only did the company decide to support Android, but McAdam says the new platform was a key influence in adopting open access. "Android really facilitated this move,"says McAdam.

Verizon's acceptance of Android should have been obvious from its previous announcement of opening its network to "any device, any app" in 2008. Yet, BusinessWeek still terms this as "yet another sudden shift" by Verizon!

You might want to checkout the BusinessWeek article, because it has some of the so-far-elusive background story leading upto Verizon's decision of opening its network. Apparently, talks of opening their network were going on among the highest executives at Verizon for almost a year now! That makes you wonder why they went to the extent of suing FCC over the open access requirements of the 700 MHz auction!


[via BusinessWeek]


Related: Verizon opens up to Android


*AFAIK = As Far As I Know

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More speculation on Google's plans for the 700 MHz spectrum

The Digital Home blog on CNET.com speculates that after winning the 700 MHz spectrum auction, Google will change this industry forever.

The author Don Reisinger thinks Google will do two things with the 700 MHz spectrum (he pretty much assumes that Google will win it):
  1. Offer VoIP calling over the spectrum which will "destroy the cell phone industry as we know it today".
  2. Offer free nationwide Wi-Fi, giving "serious problems" to current ISPs, and resulting in almost every device ("HDTVs, for example") having WiFi connectivity options.

Sounds like Brother Reisinger's faith in Google is huge, unshakeable and total. And to think it is people like these that Google might disappoint, almost make us cry!



[via The Digital Home on CNET]

Related: Will Google do an Android with the 700 MHz Spectrum?

Does Google intend to win the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction?

Suppose three different players of a team tell you right before a big match, "Whether we win or lose this match, the game and spectators will always be the winners!" Now what would you think of that team's chances of winning?

That is correct: not much. I have heard similar statements from commentators in the media after India lost big cricket matches. But I never thought I'd hear such words from Google. But this is exactly what Google's official line seems to be, with only a few more weeks to go before the 700 MHz spectrum auction.

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt in the press release announcing Google's intentions to bid:
"No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet."

Google's co-founder Larry Page as quoted in Fortune magazine's Techland blog:
“I don’t think we feel like there is a desperate need for us to have to bid to win or anything like that,” Page told analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call last month. “We have many, many different options available to us as a company in terms of spectrum.”

Finally, the very title of the Official Google blog post by Chris Sacca, Google Head of Special Initiatives, announcing their auction entry, pretty much seems to say it directly:
Who's going to win the spectrum auction? Consumers.

Even if Google did not intend to bid in the auction to win, why would its official stand be so blantantly obvious? Is this a deliberate ploy to convey the message that Google is not all that desperate to win (which is quite true, anyway)?

I wrote in the previous post that I don't believe Google will not bid to win. Now that sounds like fanboy optimism even to my own self. The above quotes from Google are not very encouraging. There are a lot of fanboys out there who have high hopes that Google will ride in like a knight in shining armor and rescue American consumers from the tight clutches of incumbent evil telcos. They are going to be mighty disappointed if Google does not win the 700 MHz auction.

And, if Google does not even put up a sincere and honest fight? Could be a bad PR move, which would bring down Google's image a few notches down.