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Google searching for Android app developers

by Sarah Griffiths on 31 January 2011, 14:40

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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Upping the Android ante

Google is on the lookout for ‘dozens' of Android developers to work in-house building apps to make sure it can continue to compete with Apple.

The Wall Street Journal reported Google has started hiring software engineers, UI experts and product managers who have ideas for apps. Sources also told the paper that some Google employees have changed projects to work on the effort.

Gartner has previously predicted that worldwide revenue from apps will triple in 2011 to $15.1bn and Google is aware that part of a smartphone and tablet's operating system's appeal is the apps available. Although there are reportedly some 100,000 apps available on Android, Apple's App Store has over 350,000 and Google apparently wants to develop quality apps exclusive to its Android platform.

So far Google has reportedly created around 20 apps in-house including Google Sky map, which was apparently started by employees in their spare time, although most of its in-house efforts are extensions of Google's web services, like Google Maps.

It is believed the new roles will be scattered across Google's offices across the globe and that Benjamin Ling, a Google product management director is handling the recruitment efforts. Sources told the newspaper that Google will pay for small groups of engineers to create apps from addictive games to location-based services.

Google apparently hopes that hiring people who already have ideas will get it results fast in a market where all the tech firms are scrambling to increase their share of the mobile market.

Google's soon-to-be CEO, Eric Schmidt recently said Google's 3 main aims of 2011 are mobile-related and the company has said it is on track to make $1bn a year in mobile-related revenue.

The search giant reportedly plans to employ around 6,000 extra people this year and it is believed many of these positions will be in the mobile space.

Google has reportedly been trumpeting its apps lab as a chance for employees to have a high degree of autonomy whilst having the security and salary of working for a multinational firm. In a bid to get a slice of the app action or possibly as a viable career option in the current difficult jobs market, it is thought that lots of graduates and professionals are developing apps full time.

Sam Altman, CEO of mobile social-networking service Loopt Inc, told the newspaper: "There are many fewer challenges to getting off the ground today than just a couple of years ago."

However, the VP of marketing at Flurry, Peter Farago, reportedly believes the market is more crowded than ever and consequently it is hard to get a bog following for a particular application. "The app store already has Wal-Mart-size inventory on a screen the size of a Post-It note," he reportedly added.

Perhaps this fear of such tough competition might entice developers to Google- with its contacts and distribution power, as some of its in-house apps come pre-loaded on Android handsets and others can be promoted in the Android Market.

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The Wall Street Journal reported Google has started hiring software engineers, UI experts and product managers who have ideas for apps.
A decent multimedia manager/player wouldn't go amiss - all the ones I've looked at so far (including the Mediascape one that Sony kindly bundled on my X10) have been “functional” to be polite. Nothing that you'd want to use for a serious listening session, and certainly not as usable as the one that Apple ships.

And with Google's sync and ad expertise how about one that could sync with the same software running on Windows, Linux and Mac (and heck, even ChromeOS?) and also “recommend” places that you could buy similar tracks (tie in with Google Shopping perhaps). Not aping iTunes - improving on it! (iTunes is too big and clunky, and tries to infect my systems with too much unrelated Apple crap - e.g. Safari).

If they want that idea, then they can have it for free! :D