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According to an article published this week on arstechnica.com, Google has announced a collaboration agreement with Sprint Nextel. Under the agreement, the search giant will offer a portal to customers using Sprint's high-speed WiMAX network; the portal will include its popular web application suite.
In addition, as part of the agreement, WiMAX users will be able to search the Internet with Google and make use of versions of the services Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk, co-promoted by both brands. According to Sprint, both companies will also use their location sensing technology to offer "assisted location services."
"This collaboration will lead to what will be the best mobile Internet network," said Sprint President of 4G Mobile Broadband, Barry West. "It allows us to take advantage of the strong trends in mobility and the Internet and create applications and services for wireless that take advantage of the history of innovation in product development of each company."
This move marks the first time that a US wireless operator has officially promoted a Google brand product. Of course, Google has made many previous forays into the world of wireless technology, which includes a whole host of mobile applications, but the company's interests don't end there. Google has recently mentioned its interest in bidding for 700MHz wireless spectrum, if the FCC is willing to accept the auction rules proposed by it. If Google won the auction, it would be in a position to compete directly with Sprint, as well as other wireless broadband providers.
But for now, Google's current collaboration with Sprint will give it a boost, as Sprint and its WiMAX partner Clearwire are trying to improve the network's profile. Wireless broadband technology has struggled to get off the ground in the US, but Sprint plans to roll out high-speed wireless technology in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. by the end of the year, and in 17 other US cities by April 2008. The company has said it expects to reach 100 million users by the end of 2008.