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Are You Ready For The Google Phone?

The phones are expected to include several Google applications and technologies, including its search engine, Google Maps and more.

Google

Google is expected to announce advanced software and services within the next two weeks that would allow handset makers to bring Google-powered phones to market by the middle of next year, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The phones are expected to include several Google applications and technologies, including its search engine, Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail e-mail, according to the newspaper.

Google has been working for more than two years on a mobile strategy, according to published reports. The company that aims to compete against Microsoft in the Office and enterprise software categories could could further pit itself squarely against Microsoft, which recently announced its own VoIP and Apple's new iPhone platform.

"I'm not going to wait in line for it, but I anticipate getting one early on. Like any new technology, there's a buzz factor in the beginning," said Dave Goebel, president of Goebel Group, a Cleveland, Ohio-based solution provider.

If nothing else, Goebel said he needs to evaluate the device to determine whether it makes sense for his SMB customers.

"After the initial buzz, reality hits and it's, 'What do I do with this?' It's like the iPhone. They're talking now how a good number of phones have been sold but aren't activated yet. I'm definitely interested in seeing it and trying it."

The iPhone comparisons are natural. After all, the buzz around Apple's entre into the voice market built for months and did have people waiting in line to shell out over $600.

Google's phone should be different, according to published reports. For one thing, Google apparently plans to base the phone on an open-source platform, which could make it significantly cheaper than the iPhone.

Like Google, Goebel Group is itself a model in progress. The company started selling the Google Search Appliance five years ago. Soon, it discovered that many small businesses couldn't afford a $30,000 appliance, but were interested in improving their ranking within Google's search engine finds. A light bulb went off. Goebel Group learned some of the mechanics behind Google's search algorithms and -- more importantly -- how to help customers get more value out of their ranking in Google's search engine.

Now search engine optimization and other Google integration services accounts for about 30 percent of Goebel's Groups revenue.

"People come to us," Goebel said. "It can be a search for an executive's name or a key phrase. We do a review of their results and make recommendations. Companies are taking notice. If you base it on the cost per click, they can get a really high ranking and really bring in some business. Some clients of ours are getting a real good return on investment," Goebel said.

For example, businesses ranging from real estate firms to airport shuttle companies to accounting and legal firms all want their Google status raised, Goebel said.

"The margins are real good and most clients we have on a retainer. We give them monthly reports and use third-party tools to show them how they do and how we tweaked it," he said.

Goebel Group is clearly ready to partner with Google as the technology behemoth starts to spread its wings. Are you?

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