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[2]: Comment by Tony Swash
by Tony Swash on Thu 9th Sep 2010 10:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Tony Swash"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Again, are you sure of it ? In the end, it's market share that matters. Every single Android handset still included a GMail and a Maps app, last time I checked. And though carriers can get in Google's way a bit, if they're paid to do so, it's their market interest not to do so extensively, because...


It looked to me as if Google, faced with possible Apple dominance of the mobile space, opted for a strategic response, Android, without really thinking through their strategy. Thats not a surprise really as everything I have read about Google's internal working strongly suggests a company lacking a strategic central command and focus, and one built on enormous but rather chaotic forward momentum.

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 order to deal with this problem Google would have to police the Android space and Android deployments in way similar to the way that Microsoft policed Window deployments (no OEM could tinker about with Windows, remove IE for example, change the interface or remove features, all they could do was add craplets). If Google went down that path they would find themselves in direct conflict with the handset makers and it would be a battle of will and strength and I am not sure Google has a strong enough hand here. Microsoft could only play hardball with the OEMs because it was really a monopoly and there really was no alternative. In the mobile space there are alternatives. Apple's iPhone and RIM are alternatives to Android handsets as external constraints on an Android/Google monopoly and there now alternative OS catching up such as WP7 for hand set makers to consider using (can you imagine the financial inducements Microsoft are offering).

Google has some hard decisions to make if Android is to deliver what Google wants (extending their search/Ad monopoly to the mobile space).

As for the notion that Google will become a sort of global internet charity dependent - please get real. Google may seem an institution now but so was Compuserve, Minitel and AOL once. Anyone remember a company called Siri -where did they go and I wonder what they are up to ;)

I don't think Google will disappear but it could find itself, its cashflow and its profitability terribly squeezed by the rise of the mobile space and Android may end being a poor response.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Tony Swash
by Neolander on Thu 9th Sep 2010 10:57 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

Reply Parent Score: 4

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

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.


Nokia couldn't build a touch based modern smart, and still can't, because they lack the software engineering and UI skills.

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.


That made me laugh. Apple are the most financially successful tech company and that includes specifically being the most financially successful phone company. Since launching the iPhone Apple have basically walked of with the entire profits of the whole phone business. See this

http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/17/androids-pursuit-of-the-biggest-lo...

and this

http://www.asymco.com/2010/09/07/will-apple-need-to-cut-margins-on-...

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.


So what? Even if that scenario came true Apple would almost certainly keep taking the bulk of profits and would still sell tens of millions of iPhones per quarter. Trying to think that this is a rerun of the past with Android as Windows will lead to misunderstanding the realities today. In my opinion the most likely outcome will be a big share of the market each for Apple and Android, Windows Phone 7 is a dark horse and too early to call but it could be a runner.

No one will be defeated or eclipsed except almost certainly Nokia (unless it adopts Android or there is a miracle) and probably RIM. Many hand set mnakers will continue to operate on razor thin profit margins.

Neither Android or Chrome guarantee Google an income earning future in the mobile world of tomorrow, and as long as (financially) they remain a one trick company they will remain vulnerable.

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.


Apple have just approved third party development tools for the iPhone including Flash based tools.

Reply Parent Score: 1