Andy Rubin: Google has your back by Seth Weintraub @FortuneMagazine January 6, 2011, 7:50 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Google will start to push mobile services that help, before you even ask. When Google GOOG Instant was released, everyone was impressed at how fast search results came back, usually before you finished typing. But Google wants to bring you results before you even type. Google and Android’s next big thing is contextual discovery. Imagine looking at your mobile device and, based on your location, time of day, past behavior and maybe even the characters around you, you get a set of results. Last month, Marissa Mayer said “contextual discovery” is coming to both web search and mobile search: The idea is to push information to people. It’s location in context. Inside the browser and a toolbar, can we look at where people have been going on the web — then we deliver it. But it’s a big UI challenge. In the browser it might be a panel on the right or bottom that complements your browsing. On the mobile phone, it’s where you are in the physical world. We can figure out where the next most useful information is. In a restaurant maybe it’s a menu. Or maybe it’s a social menu. It’s about explicit and implicit location. The mobile component of this will be brought forward by Android devices. Quenten Hardy at Forbes spoke to Android head Andy Rubin about this particular area yesterday. “Android enables Google to have a longer and deeper relationship with the consumer. When the chief product was search it was fast. Now you walk around with Google in your pocket. You have a sense that Google has your back.” When contextual discovery works, it feels like “Google has your back?” With all of the new devices coming out at CES and the new OS on the horizon, we’ll see. Additionally, Hardy got Rubin to fire off a bit of a hit on Google’s other OS, Chrome. Android isn’t really about phones, or tablets, TVs or any other device in particular, Rubin said. It’s an operating system to get you out on the Web, presumably interacting with Google services in its cloud. “It’s not a phone operating system,” he said, “it’s a cloud o/s…. and an o/s is a toolbox for third-party developers.” Between Google, Microsoft and Apple, he said “we assume the biggest developer community,” i.e., everyone writing on the Web. “It’s a platform, and a platform is an enabler, creating an ecosystem of thousands of developers.” Interesting that Rubin is positioning Android to be a Cloud OS for web developers. Isn’t that what Chrome is for?