Make no mistake: the battle between Apple and Google has just heated up. Immensely, due to a plethora of initiatives unveiled at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco Thursday.
Google has purchased Simplify Media, which makes software that lets you stream music from your home computer to mobile devices. If you think that sounds similar to Apple’s acquisition of LaLa, which lets you stream your own music from its central servers, well, you’re right.
In a keynote demo, Google showed off the ability to purchase a song (or an app) online using a personal computer, and have it automatically added to an Android device. Currently, users have to buy apps using their phone, and transferring music requires physically connecting an Android device to the phone, just as is required with the iPhone, notes “Wired” (http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/05/google-apple-music/#ixzz0oVJAZgC1).
Google is also taking on the Apple TV with Google TV. Some leading industry players have teamed up for the open platform that adds the power of the web to the television viewing experience with the goal of ushering in a new category of devices for the living room. Intel, Sony, and Logitech, together with Best Buy, DISH Network and Adobe, have joined Google on stage to announce their support for Google TV.
And the Strategy Analytics research group thinks Google TV announcement may provide a missing link in the existing over the top (OTT) ecosystem. “Connected Media Users,” those who use Internet connectivity to consume digital media on their televisions within the home — often at the expense of Pay TV– represent a growing demographic in the US and worldwide.
Strategy Analytics estimates that the number of so-called “cord cutters” could reach more than 10% of US television households by the end of the year. The Google TV platform will potentially further drive this migration, according to the research group.
Google is also upping its attack on the iPhone with the announcement of the upcoming Android OS, codenamed Froyo. The company was quick to point out that it works with HTML5 and Flash, whereas the Apple phone only works with HTML5.
Google also demoed its version of Internet tethering for smart phones. That’s something that’s been promised for the iPhone for months, but still isn’t here (although we can purportedly expect it in iPhone OS 4).
Google also said it will make its Wave collaboration and communication tool available to anyone who wants to try it out. Wave combines e-mail, IM, document sharing, blogs, wikis and multimedia management. Analysts have called Google Wave the latest, and perhaps the most comprehensive, entrant into a burgeoning social networking business.
Apple has the upcoming iAds. Now Google has countered with Google Mobile Ads. In introducing the ad platform, Google vice president Vic Gundotra joked that advertisers wouldn’t have to spend a million bucks to participate. That’s purportedly the price tag Apple is asking for its first, an premium, iAd placement.
Though some analysts are impressed with the product, it’s not expected to quickly attract the attention of corporate IT executives, notes “Computerworld” (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9176996/Google_Wave_won_t_be_quick_hit_in_the_enterprise_analysts_say).
“I don’t see it catching on right away with businesses,” says Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. “Businesses, with some exceptions, tend to be slow to adopt new technology. Collaboration products, in particular, have proven to be a very hard sell. If you layer on top of that a lack of understanding about the benefits of Wave and you get a slow or nonexistent adoption curve.”
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, told “Computerworld” that Google Wave has a chance of catching quickly on in the education market but not in the corporate world.
“I think it may be important in the education market, which is where Google Apps is getting some traction,” adds Gottheil. “Wave is powerful and has a lot of potential, but I haven’t seen a lot of interest in the business community. Part of Google’s barrier to entry into the enterprise is support — Google just doesn’t want to answer the phone.”
— Dennis Sellers