Every company is constantly changing. Even if it takes a long time to get any consumer-facing changes out there in the wild, the gears are always turning behind the scenes. From hardware, to software, to apps and features, to cameras and everything else in between, the whole show is constantly in flux, with the ultimate goal to get something worth buying out there on the shelf so hopefully someone does buy it. And by someone, I really mean a million someones.
That's not really the case for Google, though. The search giant practically made "beta" a household joke, as there was a time there not too long ago that they were launching so many different things with the beta tag attached, or updates to make stuff better, it was hard to keep up with what was going to stick around and what would eventually get canceled.
Google doesn't have an issue putting the axe to something that doesn't catch on, and on the other hand, they love to support things that find success. In some cases, Google can shove out update-after-update in rapid succession, adding new features, squashing bugs, and doing whatever else they think something might need to get just a little bit better than its last version. Google loves to update their stuff, and because they're so quick on the trigger with updates, it can be hard to gauge where the company is actually headed.
Or, more accurately, what exactly the goal is for any particular service. Or, in this case, Google as a search giant. To be honest, I always just thought Google was going to be . . . Google. A search box, with some important links, images, and information on the other side of that search box. I've never really thought about what could be next for the company, or how search might evolve into something else entirely.
Google has, obviously, and I'm not surprised that they've been constantly working towards that next thing. What is it? An even wider, more available Google. With aspects of other services, like Google Now, tossed in for good measure. Sure, we've already got that to a degree, but Google wants to expand it to things that don't even necessarily have to have screens that you can touch. (Though, every example you can think of is one you can also include a screen, so I don't really see that being the future.)
Anna had a nice write up about how Google Now is going to play a role in Google's future plans, and how it might compare to Siri moving forward. As I wrote back in June earlier this year, the question of whether or not Apple's Siri can ever really compete with Google Now has probably already been answered, and if you use Siri it's probably because you just prefer to use Apple-based products.
Google wants to allow you to have a conversation with their "ultimate personal assistant," but that's not just on your phone or tablet. They want you to be able to reach that digital persona anywhere you go, from your car, to your house, and to personal devices (like Google Glass or a smartwatch(!)). The personal assistant would be able to reach you on these devices to let you know that something is happening, like your OpenTable reservation, or when you need to leave for your flight. But, unlike Google Now in its current state, you'll actually be able to have a conversation with it, and it'll be able to respond to you with natural language.
As I said earlier, I never really gave any thought to where Google itself might be headed with its core product, but this feels like a natural step. Google, everywhere, from your home automated system, to a system in place in your car, all the way down to a piece of clothing you wear, all in the hopes of keeping you connected. Informed. Ready to head into any given day.
This is actually pretty exciting, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Google can implement this idea. Like many other things, though, I don't see it actually "winning" anything, especially when we're comparing it to an Apple product. The Cupertino-based company has a lot going into Siri, and I don't see that changing anytime soon -- no matter how impressive Google's services get. Siri fills a hole in the iPhone, and that's the goal of the service right out of the gate. Then again, I'd be willing to pay for Google Now and not so much Siri, so maybe that's the idea of winning.
Google's goals are wider, more board, and there's no surprise in that. That's why these plans from the company have to be so sweeping, so . . . all consuming. Because Google does want to be everywhere, and considering how prevalent the service is from your computer to your mobile device, it has always been on that path.
Are you ready to let Google into every aspect of your life? From inside your home, but out of your computer? Inside your car? Or would this be too much Google in your life? Let me know what you think of Google's future plans, and how you think you might use them -- or not use them.