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Facebook Hijacks Google's Android

Google's response, so far, is to play this like Microsoft, taking more control over the underlying operating system, embracing and extending:
  • Google is forking Webkit, the open source rendering engine originally created by Apple, with a new version called "Blink" that will go on to its browser and Chrome tablets.
  • Google is adding a password-saving feature to Chrome on Android phones, replicating third-party apps like Dashlane.
  • Google will build a cheaper version of its 7-inch Nexus tablet, priced as low as $149. Reuters reports the product will be formally announced at May's Google I/O conference.

Google is also doing a big push for Google Plus, its own social network, and pushing use of its sign-in technology for other apps and Web sites.

It's all an effort to gain control over users' mobile experience before rivals like Facebook do. What's at stake, according to BIA/Kelsey, is $9.1 billion in mobile local search revenue that will be available by 2017, up from $1.2 billion last year.

There was no talk about money or ads at the Facebook event. Everyone was dressed too casually for that. But just wait until the suits get hold of this. The mobile business just got a lot more interesting. And maybe Facebook just made itself a buy.

At the time of publication, the author was long GOOG and AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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