Introducing the Google Phone The Internet is buzzing about it, but only a privileged few know what it looks like, what it will do, or when it will hit the streets
By Scott Kirsner | September 2, 2007
Cambridge has a chocolate factory, and a Willy Wonka. The chocolate factory is Google's local research lab, located on the seventh floor of a Kendall Square office tower, and the resident Wonka is Rich Miner, a Google executive sometimes described as the company's vice president of wireless but officially a "technical staff member," according to a Google spokesman.
The golden ticket is a chance to see a prototype of Google's new mobile phone, which Miner has shown to a handful of Boston entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, some of whom have signed nondisclosure agreements and some of whom haven't.
Dan Roth, president of VoiceSignal, a division of Nuance Communications Inc. which makes speech recognition technology for cellphones, is under NDA. Mike Phillips, founder of Vlingo Inc., a speech recognition start-up, has seen the phone - but neither company would say whether they're working with Google. Paul Ferri, a founder of the Waltham venture capital firm Matrix Partners, has seen it, as has Murali Aravamudan, founder of a start-up called Veveo that is building a video search engine especially for phones. "We'd love to support a Google phone, if and when it becomes available," Aravamudan says, adding that there isn't yet a deal in the works.
Miner and Google are saying next to nothing about the work they're doing in Cambridge - nor are they commenting on the speculation about what Google's phone strategy will be, which has been spreading across the Net this summer.