By Josh Simons on Sep 13, 2005
Google recently bought Android, a small start-up based in Palo Alto. Among the acquirees were Andy Rubin, founder of Danger, Inc. (think Danger Hiptop, a.k.a. the T-Mobile Sidekick) and several other veterans of WebTV, Moxi Digital, and Orange. People who know mobility.
Okay, so why? Well, if Google is about connecting people with content and most people are now carrying cellphones, then it makes sense Google would be interested in the mobile space. And with the state of the art in mobile interfaces currently at about the DOS level of usability, what a great place for Google to roll out some clever and useful content-access interfaces.
They've done it before with Google Maps and their integration of maps and photography--taking a useful, but ho-hum service to an entirely new level. And they've done it in the cellphone realm as well with their simple and very useful little SMS service. And who knows what else they have in mind-- maybe even the Google Egami service I've been hoping for.
Now they've hired a group of mobile platform hotshots and I can't wait to see what they produce. I'm expecting a Google-branded software platform for cellphones--something that uplevels the content-access experience for cellphone users with enough sex appeal that users will demand it from their service providers...or switch. Providers will pay to license the platform from Google, obviating (or at least delaying) the need for an end-user Google subscription fee.
With a beachhead established on the highest volume information access platform on the planet, Google would be in a position to really threaten MSFT which has somewhat lamely been attempting to grow downward into the mobile space by leveraging their desktop experience. I'm still not sure if MSFT understands that an OS is really just a piece of software that mediates access to resources and that the resources people are increasingly going to value accessing have nothing to do with looking downward at whatever hardware platform they happen to be running their browser on and a lot more to do with looking outward at all of the data, information, knowledge and applications that are increasingly available on the web.
Actually, there is evidence that MSFT sort of gets this and understands why Google matters so much. Witness these recently reported theatrics out of Redmond: Microsoft's Ballmer: Chair-tossing potty mouth. To be fair though, Ballmer claims he's never thrown a chair in his life. But he doesn't deny what he said. Why so hot under the collar when it comes to Google, Mr. Ballmer?