At the Google Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) sixth annual Google I/O 2013 conference today, Google made several strategic announcements that caused the company’s stock to rally by 1.9% at the time of writing this article to go beyond $900 mark; highest in the company’s history at the bourses. We take a closer look at what the announcements were and how they would make or break Google’s image.
- Newer Devices: Google unveiled the latest Chrome book, Pixel, costing $1300 upwards. This multi touch device packs enough punch to put most of the conventional desktop as well as laptop devices to shame. However, given it’s steep price point and limited availability across the globe, the device which is touted as an expensive web browser is not expected to find too many takers. The device would be powered by a Intel i5 processor and shall have a 64 GB SSD to hold data. The remaining data would have to be stored on the cloud on the Google Drive requiring users to have not only expensive data plans but ultra high speed broadband plans as well. Google also unveiled its version of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.’s (KRX:005930) latest hot selling offering S4 running stock Android 4.2 sans all the customization that the OEM had loaded on the device. This device priced at $649 gets a place next to the Nexus 4 device which is priced at $299 and would receive the updates to the OS the same way as Google pushes updates to Nexus devices. The device would be available in the US only and shall operate on selected carriers only. Google also reiterated the fact that it plans to push not only Google Glass but also driverless cars in order to make for a safe and accident free future.
- Newer Software: Google announced Awesome which it plans to get users to use in place of the presently available as paid photo editing options in the market. The software highly builds its capabilities up on the existing Google’s Picasa toolset. Google also announced an update to the existing Maps both on the web and devices by making it simpler and more effective to use. Currently available as a by invitation only preview, the demo had the audience in awe. Updates to the maps for tablets were announced to start rolling out from today. Google also announced that it has always supported and shall continue to support Open Source Software. To emphasize this fact a plethora of APIs and updates to existing APIs were announced.
- Over 41 updates to Google Plus: Google Plus, Google’s pet Social Networking App is set to get as many as 41 different updates in form of either splitting services into smaller individual services as well as borrowing features and UI behaviors from Google Now’s cards. Google announced that Hangouts would be spun off into a separate app allowing users to not only interact with multiple users in parallel but also away from texting and voice plans.
- New Services: Gaining a well deserved lead over Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google announced the Google Play Music All Access service. Available as a $9.99 per month subscription service, it allows users to stream not only content purchased but also the one that was not purchased. This puts Google’s All Access in direct competition with services like Pandora and Spotify. To quote Google engineering director Chris Yerga, “We set out to build a music service that didn’t just give us access to great music but to help guide you to it.” Google also announced the often leaked over the past few days Google Play Game service that allows you to save your game data to the cloud allowing you to resume your game on multiple devices right from where you left it off.
Now all that is left to be seen is what Apple would present as an answer to Google’s latest offering when it comes up with the latest iteration of its iOS the next month.