In order to make it easier for cell phone customers to get a variety of extra services on their phones--from maps to social-networking features to video-sharing--Google will have to overcome
resistance from wireless carriers and deal with potentially thorny security and privacy issues.
The search giant 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, people familiar with the situation say. The most radical element of the plan is Google's push to make the phones' software "open" right down to the operating system. That means independent software developers would get access to the tools they need to build additional phone features.
While many software developers are likely to cheer Google's open wireless platform, there are potential risks for consumers. If Google isn't careful, sensitive user information could end up in the wrong hands, leading to spamming, stalking or other invasions of privacy.