Google follows through on ‘mobile first’ philosophy

by Morgan Phelps

Capitalizing on Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt’s promise last year to make “mobile first” in an effort to commit to phone software development and global accessibility, the company announced Monday the addition of image queries and voice search to its desktop offerings from its existing mobile operations.

From the mobile image recognition app Google Goggles, Google has added image queries to the desktop, allowing users to ask Google to recognize what is depicted in a photo or drawing by pasting the image into the search box. Whereas voice search, which is now offered for any computer user with a microphone, has come from Google’s Android operating system and its search and maps applications for other types of mobile phones.

“Mobile first in everything,” Schmidt said at last year’s Mobile World Congress. “Mobile first in terms of applications. Most first in terms of the way people use things. And it means … that we have a role now to inform, to educate through all these devices.” He noted that programmers for the company more often want to work with mobile prior to the desktop.

PCWorld noted that Google’s moves from mobile to desktop mirror similar moves by Ubuntu’s Linux new Unity interface and Apple’s Mac OS X Lion. Apple (AAPL) borrowed the automatic saving of documents, push notifications and more multitouch gesture control from iOS when creating Lion. Additionally, Windows 8 strongly mirrors Microsoft’s (MSFT) mobile interface, offering full-screen apps and a built-in app store.

As more and more users turn to smartphones for their Internet needs and wants, it makes more sense for companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft to test out their innovations first with on-the-go consumers rather than desktop-bound users. So this smartphone-addicted user, along with many others, encourages the mobile march to move onward and upward.