Just about hidden by the announcement of the latest release of Google’s iPhone client suite, was this amazing statistic: over the Christmas period Google received more hits from iPhones than S60 users.

In Google betting big on mobile market, CNET.com’s Elinor Mills writes:
On Christmas Day thousands of people opened up boxes with something cool and functional inside and wasted no time logging onto Google.com through their brand new iPhones.

As a result of those gifts, the number of global queries to Google's search site from iPhones surpassed the number of queries from people using market-leading Symbian-based phones for the first time. Google calls it the "Christmas cross-over."

That is huge given the fact that the number of iPhone units shipped is tiny compared to the number of Symbian-based phones out there. The cross-over only lasted a few days or so, but it shows the impact the iPhone is having on the telecommunications industry and provides a glimpse into its future market potential for the Web.

"It's about usage, not just units," Vic Gundotra, vice president of mobile and developer at Google said. "The data proves that people are using the browser on the iPhone."

Maybe the countless millions of Nokia smartphone users tend to be more likely to use a computer when at home than those with iPhones? Perhaps the burst in traffic was from proud iPhone users enthusiastically showing off it’s potential to friends and relatives? Even taking these factors into account, the impact this incredible “rush” to the mobile internet could be enormous.

Miguel Helft spells it out in Google Sees Surge in iPhone Traffic for the New York Times:

The data is striking because the iPhone, an Apple product, accounts for just 2 percent of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, a market research firm. Phones powered by Symbian make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, while those powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile have 11 percent and those running the BlackBerry system have 10 percent.

It’s no surprise to learn that Google’s development team have been working at fever pitch to produce the slick, approachable and visually stunning iPhone-only applications. Miguel paraphrases Vic Gundotra:

Google, which developed the first version of Grand Prix in six weeks, is introducing a new version on Monday, just six weeks after the first one. That is a speed of development not previously possible on mobile phones, he said.

It has the feel of a gold rush to me: both exciting and a little edgy.

Why so?

Given the prospects of future growth, how will Google allocate their terribly clever people between projects for the iPhone, the Symbian family and presumably Android? Neither interview with Google’s Vic Gundotra contained a hint of current or future S60 development. And only the vaguest: "This app will work great on Android."

I’d been hoping that later this Spring Google would reveal some gorgeous S60 mashup of SocialStream, GoogleTalk and Jaiku with a smattering of MyLocation thrown in for fun. Or maybe even a sexy java version of Grand Prix but now I’m beginning to wonder what’s in store for us S60 hordes.

Somebody tell me to pull myself together?


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