Google Pixel shows Google’s frustration and confusion with Android.

Google is known for its trial and error approach to products. In the past decade there were more products dropped by Google than continuing to flourish.

With new Pixel launch Google has abandoned Nexus line of smartphones, pure versions of popular phones. So what’s special about Pixel? 

  •  24*7 support from Google.
  • Pure Android.
  • Google assistant.
  • Best in class camera.

While not great the pros are good for Nexus. But with the pros there are several cons worth noticing.

  • Only 2 years of Android updates.
  • Poor design with a low screen to phone ratio.
  • No waterproofing.
  • No SD card support.
  • Premium pricing.
  • Low carrier availability.
  • No distinctive hardware features.
  • Below par hardware features than other leading Android manufacturers.
  • $100 bump for next level of storage.

With a long list of cons, it doesn’t look good for Google. 

And by increasing the price for Nexus to Pixel by almost twice, Google has reduced the value proposition associated with earlier Nexus models.

With not much changing between versions of hardware and software in modern phones, it needs to be seen if Pixel and Pixel XL will make any impact.
Time will tell if I’m wrong, but I’m waiting for a fire sale of Pixel to grab a few sometome early 2017.

Google magic behind Motorola’s next gen XPhone

Motorola has been a sub par device manufacturer,  due to the poor quality and poor UI, they have always been the also runners of the several markets.

But with Google’s acquisition a lifeline has been extended to Motorola. I personally was expecting Google would start pushing out new devices,  but overwhelming media response was that Google will spin-off the Hardware group  and just use the patents.

Luckily for us consumers it appears to be not the case, Google has deputed some of its senior product managers to lead the Motorola’s product division, and has put the focus back on innovation.

Google Nexus 4

Currently Motorola’s premier team under the guidance of former Google product manager Lior Ron (architect behind Google Maps)  is working on its breakthrough phone X Phone. They want to bring the next Iphone, something totally original and totally new.

With Google behind surely there will be something new, but even if Motorola comes out with a not so new but quality build and a clean android implementation , I will still take it.

Google anti competitive practices and few examples

With  FTC announcing the probe on Google’s search practices , I was pleasantly surprised. After the panda update Google had irked so many publishers and rendered many out of business.  Though Google might claim whatever the benefits,  the panda update was more targeted on websites causing  loss of Google Revenue. Be it sites which garnered higher ranking high paid keyword sections or the sites  advertising with Microsoft/Yahoo.

Many sites which were either directly competing with Google , using Google products for Ad revenues were the ones who faces the brunt of Google Panda fury. After the update still we get quite a lot of junk in first page results of many keywords and there are hits and certainly several misses.

Behind the scenes Google undertook another step, many adsense publishers were banned and several websites received notices from Adsense that their sites are banned from Adsense due to various reasons and many due to “Abuse of Google Products”. Well abuse of Google products like Youtube, Search etc. Google collected these data through their new search algorithms and started optimizing Adsense. Several publishers were confused as to the Google Product abuse notice, though they haven’t circumvented Google’s policies, their sites were removed from adsense program.  Many involved sites embedding primarily youtube video, for Google if someone watches a video in Youtube, there are several benefits like ad revenue and more time in its sites.

Sites which were mostly relying embedding youtube videos were taking a portion of Google’s revenue, by better titles and descriptions. Google did fix these issues with Panda update.

On the Anti competitive front, Google’s dominant position in turn has helped most of its services, whatever Google might its  services get the top position in any searches. Though Google might claim that it is helping customers, there is a financial benefit  for Google for using their service. For any search from movie timings, or even just cinemas, Google Service appears on top of the theater’s own website.

And one of the key part of Antitrust cases of Past are bundling of products, and using one’s dominant position to kill competitors. Google is doing exactly that with its dominance in search, all of its new services immediately hit top of search results on release and most users will simply click the top link.

With Google Chrome, Android and Chrome OS, Google is positioned to take control of internet traffic and in few years Google might be the internet, by killing of competition  Google can easily charge higher for ads and pay  less to users. Already there are very few good advertising options other than Google and one reason being the power of Google.

Google is already on the defensive in terms of antitrust investigations,  there are clear examples of Google leveraging its position in Search for control in other areas and it will be a tough battle for Google to prove otherwise. At the minimum US will try to put some restrictions on using Search to promote services and data collection for ads.

Lets see how this probe turns out.