Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Google Spreads Its Reach

So what does Google want to be when it grows up, or should that be what doesn’t it want to be when it grows up?

Last week we had the announcement of Google Editions at Frankfurt which made Google ebook wholesaler and retailer. We already have them as a potential book orphan works custodian and of course librarian to all. We now read that they want to be the digital music service prodiver and maybe return to the much expected gmobile provider. It’s sometimes hard tracking a company that is spreading its net so fast in so many directions but what is clear, irrespective of what materialises, the Google we know today will not be the Google we will see tomorrow.

TechCrunch website was first to raise the potential and imminent news of the launch of a new "Google Music" or "Google Audio" service. They even has screen shots which may or may not be accurate and it was unclear whether Google saw themselves as a universal Spotify streaming service or a iTunes wholesare and retailer of music downloads, or both. Of course as you would expect of any company in its position Google’s response when approached was, "We don't comment on rumour and speculation." Cnet claim Google are woring towards a ‘one box’ service that on searches will provide a thumbnail with the picture of the artist, some background information and listings of the music that can be previewed and also claims that all four major record companies are on board. The speculation is also linked to the ‘one box’ concept used by Google for other services such as video, financial information and weather search results. Techcrunch also claim in a later article ‘Google Music Service the Screenshots’, that Google is partnering its music offer with the LaLa and iLike services. We can only wait until next week when it is claimed they will officiually announcement the service at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles.

Google versus iTunes makes sense for smartphones and Chrome OS based notebooks and importantly will tether users to Google and its vision of keeping everything in their cloud.

Amid the Andriod announcements on its new version 2 release on Sony Eriksonn, the bundling of Spotify on HTC Hero by 3 Mobile, Spring Design’s Alex ereader and B&N’s Nook and the imminent Dell Android phone we read in The Street that Google is claimed to be working with HTC to produce a Google-branded phone or phones available to sell in their thousands through retailers. It would obviously remove the carrier influence and give Google tight controls over the features and applications on phones even offering user configurable phones. More interestingly it starts to position Google head to head with Apple as a provider of integrated hardware and software offerings, similar to Apple's iPhone and iTunes Music Store.

So we return to the question we started with and wonder what Google will be in the next few months and years.

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