Nokia has made certain attempts to encroach on Google's territory over the past few months - or, rather, what it sees as Nokia territory. Take mobile advertising, for example. Nokia will ship over 35 million GPS-enabled mobile phones this year alone, each of which is capable of supporting location-based mobile advertising. This just happens to be fertile Google territory, as the search engine giant sees all forms of online advertising as its own, and location-based mobile advertising in particular is estimated to be worth billions in the near future.
Google may have the advertising prowess, however, but what it doesn't have is control over the devices that will ultimately deliver mobile advertising. Step forward Nokia, who not only have the devices equipped with GPS, they've also just bought NavTeq, the mapping company that powers many of the world's Sat-Nav systems and mapping software, including - yup - Google Maps!
Now this is where it gets really interesting. Nokia has been showing off a Google Maps-killer called Maps on Ovi at the O'Reilly Where 2.0 Conference in San Francisco that by all accounts makes Google Maps look like a dinosaur. Unlike Google Maps, which does all the processing on the server, Maps for Ovi is vector-based and does all the processing on the client - making its response time much faster.
Couple this with Nokia's latest handset the Nokia Navigator, which comes with a built-in compass, and Nokia's place in the location-based market suddenly looks a lot stronger than Google's. Nokia are even releasing a series of APIs for Maps on Ovi, enabling anyone to create their own applications for it that will work not just on PCs, but on any Nokia device capable of supporting the new mapping service.
"Yelp is just a mashup. Twitter is just a mashup. If they want to make their applications work with our APIs, great," said Nokia VP, Michael Halbherr. "But Google is our competitor."
Nokia now has a complete end to end location-based solution, from devices that combine compasses with GPS (which, incidentally, is a first in the Sat-Nav market, never mind the mobile phone market), through to the mapping company and now the mapping software. All the elements are in place - now all they need to do is to provide credible services that makes Nokia the location-based platform of choice rather than Google, who have the mapping, search and advertising platform in place, but no devices until Google Android phones start appearing.
We'll be posting more on the Maps for Ovi application tomorrow, but in the meantime, just think of the power of having a device that you take with you everywhere that will ensure you can never get lost, no matter where you are on the planet, coupled with location-based services that make finding anything you need as easy as looking in your pocket. The future really is just around the corner, and Nokia are hoping it has their name on it rather than Google's.