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Japan's DoCoMo to offer Google services, reports say

Japanese wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. will join with Google Inc. to provide Internet search and email services on its handsets, according to a slew of media reports from Tokyo.

Users will be able to access Google scheduling, photo-saving and other features through DoCoMo's i-Mode network, the Associated Press and AFP said in their reports.

By teaming up with Tokyo-based DoCoMo and gaining better access to mobile users, Mountain View, CA-based Google is likely to strengthen its hand in the Japanese online search market that has been dominated so far by Yahoo.

DoCoMo is said to have zeroed in on Google as a partner because its subscribers are demanding ever-more sophisticated Internet functions on their mobile phones, the reports claim.

The agreement may lead to the development of new functions and handsets for Japanese mobile devices, such as a phone using Google's Android platform, which may be introduced in the second half of next year.

Starting as early as the spring, DoCoMo users will be able to access Google search, e-mail, scheduling and photo features through the i-mode service.

Google officials did not have an immediate comment.