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Google Android

Why Google Needs Gadgets (wired.com) 37

Google will tomorrow launch the next generation of its smartphone with the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. At the same time, the company will reportedly introduce a new Chrome OS-based laptop called the Pixelbook, a small smart speaker called the Google Home Mini, and new hardware for the Daydream VR platform. David Pierce, writing for Wired tries to make sense of it: You'd think having dominated search and email, created Chrome and YouTube, plus a self-driving car project, a handful of save-the-world enterprises, and the greatest advertising business in the history of the universe would be enough to keep Google busy. You certainly wouldn't think the folks in Mountain View would suddenly feel the urge to get into the smartphone game, a remarkably mature market where nobody but Samsung and Apple makes any money, and where Google's already ubiquitous thanks to Android. [...] As they say, hardware is hard. It's a ruthless and low-margin business, but it's also an important one. Building gadgets in-house gives Google an opportunity to assert itself beyond what any of its partners can offer. More importantly, it gives Google a chance to control its destiny in an increasingly uncertain time. Depending on Samsung is a dangerous game. Galaxy products are the most popular Android phones by far, and the prime iPhone competition. But every year, you can feel Samsung leaning a little further away from Google. It built the Bixby assistant, which competes directly with Google Assistant, and gave Bixby prime placement on its phones. Samsung builds its own browser, email client, and messaging app, which seem utterly redundant unless Samsung's trying to wean its reliance on Google products. Samsung mostly eschews Daydream in favor of Gear VR, and has a home-grown smart-home platform competing directly with Nest, Android Things, and all the other Google connected-home products.
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Why Google Needs Gadgets

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  • "Bought" YouTube (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @02:15PM (#55302779)
    >> created Chrome and YouTube

    BOUGHT YouTube. FTFY. You'd probably also find that a lot of Google gadget expertise (including talent) was purchased from elsewhere if you got inside the Googleplex...
    • In the larger corporate world, the distinction between created and bought becomes less clear or important.

      In the act of acquisition, you often "rebrand" the acquired talent under the corporate identity. Sure, YouTube was initially developed outside Google, but many of the developers remained after the acquisition, and YouTube hasn't been a static entity since acquisition - what it is today is heavily shaped by Google.

      Just because some guy in a coffee shop sketches an idea on a napkin, and that idea goes on

  • horseshit (Score:4, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @02:19PM (#55302809) Journal

    a remarkably mature market where nobody but Samsung and Apple makes any money

    Motorola makes money. Huawei makes money.

    • by thomst ( 1640045 )

      PopeRatzo snorted:

      a remarkably mature market where nobody but Samsung and Apple makes any money

      Motorola makes money. Huawei makes money.

      You're correct, of course. Three things to keep in mind, though:

      a. This is tech journalism - a field wherein hacks, shills, and nincompoops are ubiquitous, and responsible, professional, actual journalists are thin on the ground.

      b. The "article" in question is a "think piece", which is journalese for "my opinion disguised as a news story" (which is approximately the same thing as a column - "my opinion", only without the disguise).

      c. Even the most

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @02:22PM (#55302829)

    Google needs to be able to sell bright shiny objects to distract the average person from the fact that they have fully embraced evil.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      Google does bright shinies because Google has the attention span of a three year old.
    • Wow, that's like the most banal, underwhelming conspiracy theory ever. Bro, do you even internet?
      • Maybe that's because it's less a conspiracy theory and more an attempt to insult Google for being a really horrible company.

        Clearly a poor attempt either way, though.

  • For a lot of companies their phones aren't supposed to be profitable, but to feed their other businesses. For Sony and LG it's to use up the glass left over from their TV and display factories and other parts they make. Why trash it when you can sell it. Samsung makes a lot of stuff and their phones send money to their CPU fabs and display factories.

    Apple is the only one who knows how to make money on phones as a stand alone business. But with Apple it seems like their business is just making you buy yet an

    • by darkain ( 749283 )

      Apple's business is iTunes, or now the App Store. Their phones were initially built just like the iPods to feed into iTunes. Now they're built to feed into the app market. Apple is no different than the other phone producers.

      • by biojayc ( 856286 )

        Apple's business is iTunes, or now the App Store. Their phones were initially built just like the iPods to feed into iTunes. Now they're built to feed into the app market. Apple is no different than the other phone producers.

        What? Apple is a hardware company. They make money selling hardware. Software is there to sell hardware. They are different than companies like Google, who are software/service companies that sell hardware to feed the dependency on their software/services. Microsoft is a software company (or was). Apple is most definitely a hardware company.

  • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @02:30PM (#55302897) Homepage

    Google, now Alphabet, is going for the digital monopoly. Complete and total vertical and horizontal integration.

    That's it. That's the sum total of why Google is doing this. It has nothing to do with Samsung, Apple, or anyone else. It never did and never will. Google wants to run everything digital through itself. It could care less about the rest of the internet for so long as you start at their gate and they can record when you left and re-entered. It knows it can't stop you from going to Netflix, Slingbox, Hulu, or anywhere else but it can damn sure make it have a nice spot on any number of devices you own. A nice little gateway that can record what you do and when you do it.

    It's not about "not being evil" or any such nonsense. It was always about being the first, last, and only place you go to get stuff done on the internet.

  • Google is like Microsoft in having two great franchises - email and search - that are like huge cash cows, just like Windows and Office. And like Microsoft, Google takes those huge piles of cash from their winners and throws it onto the dumpster fire of their money-losers. This would include stuff like their social network, their hardware business (they even aped Microsoft ruining Nokia by buying and ruining Motorola), and their vaporware self-driving cars. They also are going down Microsoft's path flail
    • Google is one huge rambling halo effect [wikipedia.org]. Their search engine was good and by chance arrived just as all the others were turning shit of their own volition. I actually remember when Altavista was my go-to for search.

      Pretty much everything they've produced since has been shite or unusable. If the wind blows fair and they manage to produce something that's almost mediocre they dump it after a year.

      • +1 Alta Vista. That brings back the memories. Like DEC itself and their awesome Alpha crocs it is sorely missed to this day.
  • ...unless you are a Chinese kid making them.

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