Is Google TV just another TV-Box?

October 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am not sure to share all the hype around the Google TV, and there is still people out there that does not see why Google TV is so great. For me, Google TV is that great product Microsoft was not able to bring to the market with its Web TV, but that’s about it, just another box. Of course it will be a great box if you consider that the bandwidth is now much better that allows better video streaming (even in HD). With all this new apps as the one found in the iPhone AppStore, I am sure Google TV will be a great product. But is Google really changing the rules of the industry? In my opinion it isn’t, just as Apple TV didn’t either (reason why Apple decided to call the whole project “just a hobby”).

It’s the same internet after all. Google is bringing with Google TV just more internet to your TV. The internet you already had in your laptop or mobile phone. Google just links your current cable subscriptions (ie. iDish), your current paid content on demand (Amazon) and other subscription via close platforms like Hulu, Facebook, Twitter, etc. all in a box (or TV if you buy a new TV with Google TV included). That’s it. I see a great product, not a revolution.

Designed by techies for techies. It really shocked me when I first saw the Google TV remotes made by Sony and Logitech. How do they plan to bring Google TV to mainstream with these? Shouldn’t Google TV make life easier? This can’t be right… Here I can only cry out loud “Apple, please help!!!” Yes, even though Apple TV is far away to be game changer of the TV industry, they at least know how to keep things simple than even my grandma is able to play with it.

Products design to be simple (Apple TV Remotes):

…and now products that just aren’t (Google TV Remotes, available as of october 2010):

So, I guess I am only worried that Google TV will be so complicated to set up and uncomfortable to use, that it will never gain the market leadership expected vs the other tv-boxes available in the market.

Prices! The first known prices for Google TV are just outrageous! ($299 vs the $99 for an Apple TV, Roku and Boxee) and this not including the TV-Keyboard. I don’t know if Google will finally be able to earn some profits from non-online search related revenues, or the TV/Box manufacturers have just got crazy when defining the pricing strategy. I mean, this is not an Apple product where you are used to pay premiums for. If Google TV is aimed to revolutionize TV and therefore conquer mainstream, then why the high prices?

About the TV Industry. I think to agree on Steve Jobs’ views regarding the TV industry when he says that the problem of the innovation in the Television is not the lack of technology but the problem of the Go-To-Market strategy. There is no single national cable operator in any country to partner with for example. For this reason, it is not possible to partner with someone and reinvent the industry as it was done by Apple with the music industry (partnering with the big 4 music empires) or the mobile industry (partnering with AT&T). Hence, Google TV is in my humble view not reinventing the industry, but just bringing another great new box to your living room. One with a new design shipped with all these new features: redesigned web pages, Apps, social networks, streaming, HD, and of course, the new lovely remotes! (Most of these already included or to be included in Apple TV, Roku or Boxee.)

I am definitively not skeptic of the Google TV, I just think Google TV is not killing the subscriptions with the cable networks or your apps subscriptions (Hulu, etc) and it is only about getting a new box. And this is by far not the revolution of the TV industry I was expecting, at least not yet…we will see.

Cloud Computing According to Google

May 27, 2010 § 4 Comments

Last week I attended the IE Technology Club event “Cloud Computing según Google” presented by Javier Arias Gonzales, Sales Engineer from Google Spain.

I would like to share my insights about 3 particular topics:

1. Cloud Computing for enterprises: Should we move to the cloud or not? Well, we ARE ALREADY in the cloud. We all use as individuals some of the following: G-Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo, MobileMe, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, YouTube, DropBox, Picasa, Flickr, etc. All this services are in the cloud and can be access from our mobiles, laptops, etc.

But what about enterprises? According to Google, enterprises will not ask “to go or not to go” to the cloud, but rather, “which services are we moving to the cloud”.  The cloud make sense to companies, because 1) increases productivity, 2) minimize cost, 3) provide a flexible workplace (you could work and access to your data from the beach or from your country home in the mountains. Only requirement: good internet connection…and a good browser!…and a good OS!).

Google Apps is the cloud for enterprises: Google Mail, Google Calendar, Google Talk (VoIP), Google Docs & Spreadsheets (to replace MS Office?), Google Moderator (This was new to me and I was impressed!) and Google Wave.

Most of the services are available in 52 languages (some of them only in 40. impressive!). Companies with <50 employes pay 0€ for this services, above this figure, the cost is 40€ per user ($50 US). I do believe that this is as cheap as it gets, hence enterprises will do move to the cloud (at least the services that don’t belong to their core business).

2. Browser: According to Google, the strategy is simple: Set the benchmark of what a faster browser can do by developing one (Google Chrome) , make it open and let the world expand/explore its capabilities. This will make all browsers in the market to become better and faster, making all of them capable to run cloud computing services (from Google if possible). I think this is smart. Current Market Share of Chrome 6%, my prediction in 2012: 15%.

But Google is not stopping by making browsers fast and reliable enough for cloud computing, they want to make also computers better, faster and capable for the cloud. Hence, they are making a web-centric OS, Google Chrome OS, which will be available to the market during the second half of 2010. By the way, Microsoft still argues that half of PC use its outside the browser. I guess we will have to wait and see if Google Chrome OS does gain some market share in the near future. My Market Share prediction of Chrome OS for 2012: 5%.

3. Security of data @Google: Without doubt the most controversial subject (and therefore my favorite one!). Google has given a simple example to explain this issue: Your Grandma may think “why should I go to the bank to give my money to a strange company?” Instead, your Grandma may put her money under her mattress. Why should you Grandma trust banks? Didn’t you hear what happen in Argentine? Well, fact is that the probability to lose the money from a Bank is tremendously lower than having it surrounded by only your own 4 walls.

According to Google there is no 100% security for anything (incl. Banks, as we now know), but there can be high security. The probability for Google Servers to suffer from an attack (hackers, virus, data loss, etc) is without doubt lower than if this would happen to your company servers.

Your worry is about “content security”? Well, Google acknowledges that there are specific cases for certain information (or services) not to be on the cloud (i.e. Lawfirm with tons of critical sensible info). But most of the other information (or services), specially those that not belong to your core business, are much safer under Google servers and definitive better managed by Google Services or Apps.

Recap: Google want enterprises to move to the their cloud not necessary to protect them (even though they indirectly do), but to make them more productive. To make this happen, they need a good, powerful and reliable Browser and OS to be standard. Now, imagine your company’s documents been capable to be translated to 52 languages in a second, or to be stored and downloaded wherever your employees are, anytime and to any device (mobile, tablet, desktop). Or what about instantly sharing and editing (at the same time) documents, calendar, ideas, projects between co-workers? And this during a video or chat conversation with colleagues sitting in opposite areas of the world! (My previous work environment felt like Middle Ages compared to this!)

I used to don’t like Google that much before, but know, I think I am finally understanding their strategy! It is smart and we all will be benefiting from it!

Blog to you soon…

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