There has been a lot of news surrounding the Google Fiber project here in Kansas City. It’s a big deal for everyone and it could have some huge ramifications to the future of how we watch tv, browse the web and conduct business in general, especially here in Kansas City. Even the Time Warner technician who was at my house last week said he was really looking forward to it…and he’s going to lose business over this!
In case you missed it or were looking for more info. Below is a breakdown of what Google Fiber is offering as well as a video and some links to other articles on the subject.
Google made a couple of new announcements prior to the I/O conference this week. A new Tablet (Nexus 7) and a new media streaming device called the Nexus Q.
The Nexus Q looks to be an interesting device, allowing you to access all of the Google Play content through your TV. While this sounds really cool, these devices have been around for a while. Apple has had an AppleTV box for a really long time but they’ve never really seen great success with it. Western Digital is another company that makes a digital media device and while it works well, they don’t have a flashy name or much support other than the people who tried it out and like it.
ROKU is another company without much of a brand to get behind but they seem to have maybe the best option for digital media streaming (they offer the holy trinity of digital streaming Amazon, Netflix and Hulu). ROKU also has an extremely cheap price tag at only $99. admittedly, I’m looking into a ROKU box in the near future primarily for their streaming video and the ridiculously low price.
The one big gap in this list is Amazon. They are arguably the biggest rival to Apple’s iTunes, but they still don’t have a media box to stream the content that you purchase from them. It’s possible that they are relying on the rest of the players to build the actual device and simply add an Amazon app to their product. I highly doubt that Jeff and company will be sitting by idly watching their biggest competitors come out with proprietary streaming devices while they hope to get their app added to the devices. The opportunity to make a streamlined media device that, much like the Kindle Fire, ‘helps’ users buy more content from Amazon would appear to be too much for Amazon to pass up.
Back to the Nexus Q. The device seems to go away from what Google is known for, low design, highly functional devices. Most of the products they release aren’t highly designed to be displayed to the world, they are however usually highly functional devices that allow easy access to the digital world. You would think that if Google launched a media device, they follow suit with the likes of ROKU (and even Apple) and come up with a very low profile device that will ‘enhance’ your living room experience rather than take over.
It’ll be interesting to see where all of this leads. An Apple TV seems more and more like a very real possibility as TV’s start becoming cheaper and devices like these lending TV’s to be less of a cable consumption device and more of a multimedia/digital/internet consumption devices.
If you didn’t hear, Google recently launched a video of how their ‘Project Glass’ might change how we interact during the day. Project Glass is a futuristic look at how technology could enhance our lives. By wearing the ‘Google Glasses’ you could interact with Google Maps, Google Chat, Gmail and a number of other services all without using your phone. The headsup display allows you to go about your day without staring down as you walk.
In concept its a pretty awesome idea. I’d love to see something like this come to market but as you can see below, there are already a few parody videos that show some of the potential downfalls that this new technology could throw our way.
How Project Glass might cause you to hurt yourself
What Project Glass might actually look like on an ad supported version.
This week amid a terrible a terrible financial forecast Google announces that they plan to purchase Motorola Mobility. At first glance this seems like an interesting move for Google, purchasing one of their largest partners for Android powered cell phones. Apparently however, the main reason Google made this purchase (assuming it gets approved) is to own all of the patents that Motorola owns (roughly 17,000 patents). Google hopes this will now keep companies like microsoft and Apple from suing or threatening to sue Google and their partners. This may also be why HTC and Samsung have said that they are behind this purchase. At least for now. Here is an interesting story from NPR that illustrates the patent suing game as a cold war standoff.
With all of that patent talk aside, the really exciting piece to this story is how this is going to affect Android smart phones and tablets in the future. An article recently came out from Fast Company, talking about how companies like Apple have done so well innovating new products because they were able to learn from manufacturing their own products. Could this move also put Google in that category? I think it might. It also might be the key to making Android even better than it already is. Previously Google would launch new flagship phones (G1 and Nexus specifically) without having spent as much time ensuring that the device itself stood up with the software it was running. Motorola should be able to provide the necessary help to ensure that Android devices, at least those made by Motorola, compare with the iPhone and any other mobile devices out there…Including tablets.
Google says it will remain ‘open’ but how long can that really last. Not necessarily on Google’s part, but looking at this through HTC and Samsung’s eyes, Motorola is now essentially a competitor who is trading with insider info. How long before they decide that its not worth the struggle to keep up? And Where do those manufacturers head if they decide its not worth it to stick with Android? Windows mobile? Thats a much more expensive operating system to run (Android is free). This would probably make Ballmer pretty happy because HTC makes great phones and if Windows could get their hands on a deal with HTC or Samsung, it would make their mobile operating system look a little better to a lot of people. Although the odds of that happening are slim to none.
The last piece to this puzzle are Android tablets and Google TV. Tablets are a no-brainer. Motorola could help make Android tablets THE tablet to buy in the same fashion as Andoid mobile devices, relegating the iPad to Steve’s fanboys. Google TV also stands to gain some ground as Motorola is actually a maker of many of the set top boxes. Their insight into improving the all-but-defunct Google TV could bring this idea back into living rooms across the country.
So what do you think about this purchase? Do you think it will even go through? And what about the future of mobile technology? let me know in the comments field below or send me a note on Twitter.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard all about Google+ and you’ve probably also read all about how great it is. I’d have to agree, I think Google+ is great. I also love Twitter and I use it a lot. The problem I’m finding myself in is that I also use Facebook, but I’ve never been a huge fan of it ever since I graduated from college (even though I constantly find myself checking my wall on my phone). This is primarily a result, not of Facebook but of the vast amount of people who use Facebook (which of course is the real value of any social network).
Now that Google+ has been released into the wild and millions of users are flocking to it, how do I incorporate this new social network into my social media world? More specifically, how to manage all of my audiences? Before Google+ I’ve been pretty consistent about keeping my personal (Facebook) and professional (Twitter) lives separate with a few exceptions and overlap. Now with Google+ jumping into the mix, how can I maintain a separation of my ‘lives’ AND maintain the audience for both (and in the future, all three?) networks without annoying the handful of people who follow me on both (and potentially all three).
What I mean is that I don’t want to blanket all networks with the exact same posts, every time I post. I’ve never been a fan of sharing everything to both (or all) networks with no regards for the audience. My Facebook friends are quite different from my Twitter followers and the message typically doesn’t resonate with both audiences. But even when it does, the people who do follow you on both networks could easily get annoyed from seeing the same things over and over no matter which platform they were looking at. So with respect to the many audiences, how can we fit in this third network?
The easy solution, like many people have done and endlessly argued is to simply abandon Facebook. This sounds great as I don’t really feel connected to Facebook like I do Twitter, but the Facebook audience is not automatically transferred to Google+ and most likely won’t for a long time (I’m thinking specifically about certain non-tech-friendly people who use Facebook constantly). Those people still need to be reached.
The thought of a 3rd network to manage seems exhausting and even more confusing in trying to decide which articles/updates/opinions/posts to share with each group. Google+ allows you to group all of your friends and followers into Circles, but there isn’t an app to post updates to certain circles to your Facebook friends (unless you want everything emailed to them). So you’re left managing three separate networks
So how are you incorporating the ‘Facebook killer’ into your social media world? let me know, cause I could use some help.