Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Sep 2010 18:53 UTC
Google Hold on to your security blanket, people, because Google is rolling out a pretty big change to its search engine. Not too long ago the internet was in a shock because Google rolled out a new feature that allowed you to pick a background image for the Google home page, just like Microsoft's Bing. Google went a lot further today, and has launched Google Instant, adding search-before-you-type results to the Google home page.
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RE[3]: Comment by Tony Swash
by Neolander on Thu 9th Sep 2010 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Tony Swash"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

If Android is a strategy to keep Google dominant (or at least very strong) in the mobile space it may not work very well. Already the Chinese variant has spiralled completely out of Google's control and now you have mainstream handset makers and carriers making models with Android but blocking Google search. You can add to that problem the issue of OS fragmentation.

In my opinion, even when things like this occur, Android can still be useful for Google, as a source of chaos and fragmentation in the mobile space.

Formerly, the mobile space was largely unorganized. Tons of company made low-end handsets, a few companies were dominant in some niche market (palm&hp in the PDA world, BB for business-oriented cellphones), and globally the sole dominant player was Nokia, because they were rich enough to adapt themselves to every single use cases (and made phones that can fall in water from the top of a building and still work after drying the pieces and putting them back together).

Nokia's domination does not harm Google's business, since the brand is largely open-minded and driven by business logic. This is what made it successful. If Google want to distribute some Youtube app on nokia handsets, they can, provided that they pay nokia a large enough sum of money. Google has that money.

Now, a new kind of market has emerged in the mobile world : touchscreen phones with dumb applications and high-quality web browsers. And for some reason Nokia did not adapt itself well as usual. They probably did not see it coming (who would buy a futility-oriented phone, seriously ?). The newcomer, Apple, could hence invade it with its product.

The problem for Google is that Apple are not driven by usual financial logic. They are ready to lose money and market share if they can tightly control their products and users in their whole lifespan. Google, as a major player on the Internet, is an obstacle to Apple's absolute monarchy, so they know that if Apple manage to get some serious market share in the mobile space, they will be in big trouble.

This was the situation when development of Android began.

Let's see what's happening now : if things continue to go this way, Android handsets are going to outsell the iPhone, no matter if it's under Google's control or not. That's because they are cheaper, and fit much more use cases than Apple's gizmo. If Google loses its grip on Android, milions of manufacturers and business interests will get a small part of it. So in the end, no one will be able to pretend "I control the android market". Like in 2006, there will too much players around.

Most companies would be happy to treat with Google, include a Youtube app and a GMail app, and so on. The bing example is an exception, and Google know that. So in the end, by treating with each manufacturer separately, they can manage to govern the mobile web in the end. Because unlike local applications, websites work on *all* Android handsets in the same way.

(PS : And if Apple wants to avoid this scenario, they must make sure that their iOS devices cover much more use cases. This means making them cheaper and more flexible. I see Apple making cheaper devices, but I think they'll lose in the flexibility area. Simply mentioning in front of Jobs the idea of letting an user browse its files, or code applications in Flash and on a PC, is risking death penalty. Same for suggesting that the touchscreen interface may be impractical in several cases and that including more buttons could have its uses...)

Edited 2010-09-09 11:06 UTC

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