Google launches search engine for cellphones

Google takes innovative search engine to cellphones; BlackBerry devices will offer Google Talk, Google Local.

Whiz-kid-on-the-block Google Inc. launched yet another innovative product Thursday when it announced a version of its famous search engine in a form suitable for use on cellphones.

The Google personalized home page will allow consumers to conduct web searches and check e-mail, news headlines, local weather reports and a list of stock prices, all from one central page.

"A phone is a device you carry with you all the time," said Deep Nishar, Google's product manager for wireless services. "It is really an extension of people's personalities. We feel that is very important that the information you care about is just one click away."

Some of these features will also be available on BlackBerry personal devices, according to Canada's Research in Motion Ltd.

BlackBerry handheld devices will support Google Talk, a system that allows users to send and receive instant text messages with other Google Talk members. The service is expected to be available in the spring. As well, BlackBerry users will have access to Google Local mapping, which provides maps and satellite images, driving directions and maps of local businesses, from pizzerias to hotels and doctors' offices. It's available in the U.S. now.

Google introduced the personalized home page for personal computers last year.

Google is racing Internet rivals Yahoo, Microsoft, America Online and InfoSpace to offer as many services as it can on computers and cellphones. There has been a flurry of new products over the past week. Many of them link home computers with televisions, music and movies.