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Verizon Wireless Nearing Search Deal With Google

By Jason Ankeny

Verizon Wireless and Google are poised to announce a partnership that would install the web services giant as the default mobile search portal across the operator's device portfolio. According to The Wall Street Journal, Verizon plans to streamline its mobile search user experience by creating a one-stop, Google-branded search platform spanning from local information to mobile content acquisition.

The deal calls for Verizon and Google to share advertising revenues, but the two firms are still negotiating several key points of the partnership, including Google's demands for access to consumer behavioral data. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the WSJ adds that Verizon has mulled other search partners, including Microsoft--Medio Systems, which presently supervises the operator's digital content search service, would remain on board to manage an all-in-one search effort.

A Verizon/Google deal would herald a d├ętente in the companies' often combative relationship. Last autumn, Verizon filed a lawsuit to force the FCC to abandon Google-backed open access regulations that would have required wireless carriers to begin opening their networks to more services and handsets; Google later admitted its sole rationale for entering this spring's 700 MHz spectrum auction was to drive up bidding and guarantee its open access conditions were met.

While Verizon later changed course and announced its Open Development Initiative, promising to introduce open access nationwide by the end of 2008, in May Google petitioned the FCC to obtain a guarantee from Verizon promising the operator will honor its commitment to open access. That same month, Verizon Wireless formally announced its membership in the LiMo Foundation open handset consortium, effectively spurning Google's Android mobile OS in the process. [FierceMobileContent]

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