It’s been a long time coming, in hindsight. For years Google have said that the next big thing for Google would be, whatever the next big thing in search is, because that what Google do and that is by and large, their main source of revenue.
All the while, Apple steadily became the most valuable company in the world, with more cash than the US Government. Don’t get me wrong, Google do well, but it must sting a little when one of your main rivals’ profits is bigger than your revenue.
Google had already soured the relationship with Apple by turning Android into the iOS competitor that it is now. What sticks in the throat of the Cupertino crew the most is the feeling that one of their own, Andy Rubin, defected to Google and took with him ideas that became the blueprint to what Android is now.
Now, again with more than an admiring glance at what Apple have, Google intend to get knee deep in hardware and home entertainment. The Motorola deal has pretty much been given the go ahead, and so now they have a whole bunch of patents along with a team of hardware specialists.
Many in the techsphere have already doomed Google to failure in this venture but I’m not so sure this will be consigned to the scrap heap along with Google Wave and Google Buzz. I say, let’s take a closer look at what Google have going for them.
Google have made large strides to improve YouTube, recently giving it a complete redesign to help promote the various types of video categories as well as highlight that YouTube is now a destination for Film, Shows, Live videos, Education and News. With all that covered, you may wonder why you need a TV licence at all. Indeed, Google will be hoping that’s exactly what you are thinking, as they have already stated that they want to increase the time spent on YouTube and have made the number one online video service more visible through Google+ and more accessible through the updated Google TV app and mobile app. With 4 billion video views per day already in the bag, how long before you’re sat round the big screen with your family, flicking through YouTube channels?
Google Music has got off to a bit of a stuttering start, this is very keenly felt over here in the UK as we have yet to receive it. Nonetheless, in the US where it is up and running, it’s a formidable service, were it not for its late start it may have proven to be a rival for iTunes. Having the ability to hold and stream 20,000 tracks in your library or download tracks directly to your phone is a great feature. There’s little needed to add this to a feature of a home stereo or some sort of music hub. We’ve seen Apple do something similar and the Sonos system works very well. This is a competitive space and will like become an even more fierce battle ground, but no doubt Google have planned this for a long time and recent revelations show that their employees are testing equipment in their own homes, dog-fooding as it is called. I’m optimistic, competition in this industry is great for the consumer, guys like you and me. And Google are pretty good and making their wares compatible most everything else, so if everything runs smoothly, you won’t have to throw out your existing goods, unless you really want to.
The biggest thing Google have going for them is, who they already are, by that I mean that they are one of few brands that have become a verb. When you search online, you Google, that means you’re always going to come into contact with Google, which gives them an opportunity to sell their services to you. And Google have shown that they have no hesitancy leveraging their existing properties to promote their new products. And while Google+ has yet to take off in a massive way, there is deep integration into everything that Google produces at the moment, with more tie-ins growing the partners may soon be on par with what Facebook have in their own network. Google already have a huge portfolio of non Home Entertainment products, but that won’t stop them from making sure that their products work together, making them distinct for a lot of what’s already out there in terms of audio and visual. We seen the iOS update to the Google+ app mean that you have instant uploads to an online album, why wouldn’t you be able to view those photos through your Google TV? Or what about when you have a video of your child’s performance in a school play and you want to be able to watch it with the sound playing through your home set-up, I mean, my nephew was awesome in the school performance of West Side story. How about all the high res images in your picasa album, wouldn’t that be nice to scroll through on a 30” screen at the end of the year?
Admittedly I’m not the most creative guy, I’m just squashing together stuff that I’m aware already exists but there’s a lot of potential. The Android@home music system will no doubt be the first of many Android@home products, after all with a name like ‘Project Tungsten’ it’ll be underwhelming if it produced any less than a myriad of products. Google isn’t particularly good at hardware but it is good at a lot of other things, and the Motorola acquisition will go some way to address those weaknesses. This should make for interesting times for all us technophiles, if your appetite isn’t whetted by this, then what on Earth will?