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Google revives dead Nexus One store as Android 'gallery'

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Google has reanimated its dead Nexus One webstore as a place where you can comparison-shop for partner Android phones.

Late Wednesday, with a blog post, Mountain View unveiled the Google Phone Gallery — "a showcase of Android-powered devices that deliver the best Google experience" — and it occupies the same URL as the famously defunct Nexus One store: www.google.com/phone.

"Here at Google, we’re thrilled with the global adoption of Android and with the high quality of devices that are coming to market around the world," the company crowed. "Since there are so many great phones, we wanted to make the selection process a little easier for people who are in the market for a new one."

As Search Engine Land points out, the new Google Gallery has a certain knack for discriminating against Android phones that use Microsoft Bing as their default search engine. Eric Schmidt has referred to the Samsung Galaxy as the iPhone's biggest rival, but the Gallery doesn't include Verizon's incarnation of the Samsung, which defaults to Bing.

In January 2009, Microsoft and Verizon signed a five-year search and ad deal rumored to be worth $500m. And as part of this pact, Verizon has even gone so far as to Bingify phones that are already in users' hands. This past December, Verizon unilaterally updated user's Storm 2 BlackBerries and other smartphones so that their browser search boxes could only be used with Microsoft Bing. If users wanted to search with Google or other engine, they had to do so by loading a webpage.

Last January, when Google unveiled the Nexus One — a Google-branded phone that was sold solely through the Google website — the company promised that Verizon would soon join its online store, offering wireless service in tandem with the not-quite-the-iPhone handset. But America's largest carrier never did get with the program, and after little more than six months, Google shuttered the store entirely, saying it preferred to sell phones solely through third-party partners. ®

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