A week after the Google I/O developer conference, it would seem the tech blogosphere is still in a post coitous haze over the amount of forward thinking-service intergrade goodies Google sprayed on the audience throughout the opening Keynote.
Admittedly the 3 hour and 39 min opening keynote was chalked full of some much needed cohesive vertical integration of their various services. For what felt like a week, Google expounded on the deep level of developer API’s, explored new services like Google All Access, and waxed poetic on lofty ideas for the future. This I/O seemed to me, to be by far their most impressive and substantial to date. With that being said, this years I/O does leave me with a certain lingering resignation that Google may have just become the Walmart of the internet.
Due to their income structure, Google has effectively been able to corner several markets by being the cheaper alternative. From Android to Google Docs, Google has been able to manipulate their large cash revenues from online advertisement to supplement their various endeavors without so much as wink to the financial burdens or consequences. It would seem Google’s most effective strategy was to become a hyper focused conduit for business to reach customers in the age of the internet. I’d liken the situation to T.V. networks upon the boon of television. Back then, for a business to have any hope in reaching beyond a local market, they had to play nice with the television networks to showcase their ads. Google’s strategy is proving challenging for the likes of Apple and Microsoft who rely on direct sales for their respective services as well. Mimicking the competitive landscape of the sales market that includes Lowes, Ralph’s or a Target; I see Google as the undercutting widely adopted Walmart of devices and software.
“…I found myself thinking much of this already exist.”
Moving away from their stranglehold on web search, mapping and mobile phones, it would appear the finer minds over at Google have their sights set on much higher ambitions. To me that ambition is in-line with a certain low brow retailer notoriously known more for its customer’s lack of candor and lack of humility rather than their sufficiently equivalent products. I don’t mean to draw such unflattering comparisons but after watching the I/O I found myself thinking much of this already exist.
After the I/O the audience was left with a bunch of “me too” products to flush out the growing Google ecosystem. Google debuted a music streaming service to match the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Xbox Music. They went on to debut photo features that have been added to their “me too” social network. Google’s photo features align themselves with programs like Adobe’s Lightroom, and Scalado. The highly touted Google Hangouts was also unveiled, and it seems to function much like a Facetime, Skype mash up. While some starry-eyed early adopters may blush over the new messaging system, it still falls short in the same areas as others like What’s App, BBM (well until future BB announcements), and Facetime. Google patted itself on the back when baking in touch input into their browser, not unlike IE 10 or 11. The coupe de grace was their comingling of their developer tools and reimagining them under Android Studio. Android Studio is Google’s answer to their question, “What the hell do we do about Eclipse?” Android Studio is a Visual Studio-like environment for developers.
Please don’t mistake my admittedly biased observations as a rallying cry for the end of Google’s innovation. I understand that simply because something already exist doesn’t mean a new competing entrance cannot co-exist as well. In fact it was Walmart’ competitive pricing forced retail chains like Target, Home Depot, and various grocery stores to price accordingly to stay in business. My point is, that as much as most people in the tech blogosphere like to rally behind Google and their God-like bestowments, remember, just because it’s offered really cheap, you often times get what you pay for.