2015年1月4日 星期日

Android everywhere 如果沒有 Android,世界會怎樣?

4 things to expect from Google in 2015

Google wants very much to be known as more than just a search company, and over the next year many of its biggest moves will be in other areas.

Many of Google's biggest moves in 2015 will come outside of search.Getty Images

Google is a powerhouse, but it's a powerhouse in transition.
In 2014, Google's search engine -- the largest in the world -- continued to dominate the market. In the US, the company has 67 percent of the search market on desktop computers. Globally, it's a $50 billion business in revenue annually.
But as Google looks to where future revenue streams will come from, CEO Larry Page hasn't been shy about saying the company has needed to expand its vision. When Google was founded in 1998, it gave itself the mandate of "organizing the world's information." Now that means a lot more than just search.
"I think the mission statement is probably a little bit too narrow and we're thinking about how to do that a little more broadly," Page said in December.
So, not surprisingly, much of what's expected from Google over the coming year has little to do with its juggernaut search business and more to do with its ever-growing enterprises outside of search -- from YouTube to its secretive lab Google X to its dominant Android platform. Here are four things to consider when looking at Google in 2015.
1) The consumer launch of Google Glass
Remember Google Glass? The Internet-connected smart eyewear, which captured the attention of geeks and the tech media, launched in a limited program in early 2013 but had gone relatively dark in 2014. Google is expected to release the consumer version of Glass sometime this year.
The device, which Google co-founder Sergey Brin previously intended for a wide release last year, has been met with both fascination and scorn since it was unveiled in 2012. It has particularly touched a nerve with those concerned about piracy and privacy. Glass, which has a built-in camera and recording device, has been banned from movie theaters by the Motion Picture Association of America and has also been banned by some bars.

The launch of the consumer version of Google Glass was previously expected to come this year.CNET

But for all the controversy Glass has stirred up, the device is still technically on a very public test run. Google strategically planned a slow rollout, calling the first people to own the device "explorers."
It's unclear what the product will offer once it moves beyond its prototype phase. Some analysts expect a price drop from its original, "explorer" price of $1,500. Paul Saffo, a Stanford professor and Silicon Valley futurist who's observed the industry for decades, believes the price was deliberately steep to temper expectations. "If it had a consumer price, people would expect consumer functionality," he said.
Others say the product will be better as a result of the hardship early on. "What we see in version 2, 3 or 4 is going to be significantly better because of the failure of version one," said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley and Co.
2) A push to get TV ad budgets to YouTube
Google has been making big investments in YouTube, its premier online video platform. The company has fought to keep its top creative talent on the service, especially as rivals like Facebook and startups like Victorious aim to crowd YouTube's turf.
There's good reason for that investment. YouTube gets more than a billion unique visitors every month and streams about three months' worth of video to viewers every minute. eMarketer predicted that video ad revenues from YouTube in the US would hit $1.13 billion by the end of 2014.
Google wants to cash in on YouTube even more. In the advertising world, television has traditionally been where brands and agencies spend the most money. But analysts say that's poised to change. Ad spending on the Web is set to overtake ad spending on television in 2016, according to a study published in November by Forrester (though that includes all types of Web-based ads -- not just online video).
Several big tech companies have upped their investments in online video ads over the past couple of years. In November, Yahoo bought the ad-tech company Brightroll for $640 million -- the second largest acquisition CEO Marissa Mayer has made since taking Yahoo's helm in 2012. AOL bought Adap.tv, another video ad-tech company, in 2013.
Sinha said he thinks Google will more aggressively go after making deals with big brands and advertising agencies to bring their ad budgets to YouTube. The company has already started making those pacts. In February, Google struck a deal with Magna Global, one of the world's largest advertising buyers. Magna Global is a unit of IPG Mediabrand and invests $37 billion a year on behalf of its clients. The deal reportedly committed about $100 million of marketing money to Google websites, including YouTube.
Another hint about Google's commitment to bringing big ad budgets to YouTube? The company in February put Susan Wojcicki, one of Google's earliest and most senior executives, in charge of YouTube. Wojcicki previously spent years running Google's overall advertising business.
"It can't get much more senior than that," said Sinha.
3) Android everywhere
Arguably no division inside Google was busier in 2014 than the one in charge of Android, the company's mobile operating system. The software already powers more than 80 percent of the world's smartphones, and Google took major steps in 2014 toward expansion.
In September, the company launched Android One, an initiative aimed at bringing affordable, high-quality Android phones to emerging markets. The project, which guides handset makers in what components they should include in their hardware, originally launched in India. In December, Google expanded the program to Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The company originally planned to launch in the Philippines and Indonesia by the end of 2014, but those launches -- along with launches in other countries -- will likely take place over the coming year.
In November, the company began to roll out Android Lollipop, which Google product czar Sundar Pichaicalled the company's "largest, most ambitious" release yet of the OS. The update is a major overhaul of the software's design and user interface.

Google Android chief Sundar Pichai launched the company's Android One initiative in India in September.James Martin/CNET

B. Riley and Co's Sinha thinks those efforts mean Android is poised to make a jump in quality. "What we see [in 2015] is Android coming out with significantly better phones than what we see now," he said.
Google has also made big bets in wearable devices. Along with Glass, the company has focused on Android Wear, a modified version of Android tailor-made for wearables like smartwatches.
The payoff could be big. By 2018, shipments of wearables will surpass 100 million units, an almost sixfold increase from 2013, according to research firm IDC. Competition in the market will also heat up soon, as Apple gets set to release its own wearable, the Apple Watch, in early 2015.
The chief knock on wearables in the early goings has been that many of them are still too expensive and that there are not many uses for them yet. But Google says it's committed to helping Android Wear mature at a fast rate. "We want to be able to iterate very, very quickly," Hiroshi Lockheimer, Android's top engineer, told CNET in September.
4) Ongoing scrutiny in Europe
Though Google has focused its efforts on several new businesses, search is still the company's bread and butter. And the company's dominance there will likely give Google headaches as antitrust probes continue into 2015.
Google has been embroiled for the past four years in an antitrust investigation in Europe. The case delves into allegations that the company prioritizes the results of its own properties -- like YouTube or the Google+ social network -- over the results of competitors. Google has also been the main target of a European court's ruling known as the "right to be forgotten," which lets people request their names be excluded from search results if the content is irrelevant or outdated.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The European Parliament has also filed a public motion in favor of splitting up Google's search business from the rest of the company (though Google wasn't actually mentioned by name). The motion itself is toothless, but it puts political pressure on the European Commission -- which sets the region's political agenda -- as it probes Google. It also underscores an unfriendly political tone toward the company.
"All of it really reflects broad suspicion of Google in Europe," said Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw research. Dawson said he expects the European Commission to implement rules around how Google can "cross-promote" its own products on search.
The Commission's antitrust investigation of Google has been drawn out since it began in 2010. After three previous attempts, Google and European regulators haven't been about to agree on a settlement. Europe's new competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, who took the post in November, has indicated she would listen to all complainants before deciding how the investigation would proceed.

如果沒有 Android,世界會怎樣?

作者  | 發布日期 2015 年 01 月 03 日 分類 Android , Google
這個禮拜,一篇柯達將要聯合另一家公司 Bullitt,推出 Android 平板電腦的新聞引起了很多人的關注。因為受數位攝影的衝擊,柯達曾一度面臨破產保護,慢慢退出了人們的視線。

但現在,它又回來了——得益於 Android。試想,如果沒有開放的 Android 作業系統,柯達要做平板電腦會有多難。但是,如果沒有 Android,柯達並不會是受影響最大的公司。那麼,如果沒有 Android,世界將會怎樣?
首先,也是最直接的,Android 的創立者 Google 會成為雅虎。Android 幫助 Google 建立了自己的行動生態,如果沒有 Android 的話,Google 將錯失整個行動網路。就好像雅虎錯失了搜尋之後淪為平庸,失去行動網路的 Google 也會變得不再重要。


在 Android 出現之前,智慧手機市場的主角是 RIM(黑莓)、Palm、諾基亞(Symbian)以及微軟的 Windows Mobile。蘋果的 iPhone 也剛剛加入競爭。如果沒有 Android 的衝擊,iPhone 會獲得更大的市占率,諾基亞作為手機品牌不會滅亡,黑莓仍然會是商務人士的首選品牌。


如果說中國,受影響最大的應該是小米。沒有 Android,小米也不復存在。這可是一家現在估值 450 億美元的公司。魅族可能還是一個非常小眾的品牌。錘子手機更是無從談起。中國其他手機廠商的日子也不會太好過,從功能機轉型智慧手機的過程會更漫長更艱難,同時也很難和國際品牌競爭。
除了手機廠商,中國一批圍繞 Android 生態系統建立起來的公司也不會存在,比如豌豆莢,以及騰訊、百度、360 旗下和豌豆莢業務類似的部門。而育成豌豆莢的創新工場可能也不會存在。還有大批手機遊戲公司,沒有了 Android,他們的收入至少要砍掉三分之二。甚至,對所有行動網路創業者來說,沒有 Android 的話,整體創業成本也會更高。


再次,沒有了 Android,可穿戴設備、智慧型硬體這些新的趨勢和創業潮可能會晚好幾年到來。可能 Android 和智慧型硬體並沒有直接的聯繫,但 Android 帶動了智慧型手機的產業鏈,等於為智慧型硬體的發展鋪了路。有很多智慧型硬體創業公司將 Android 操作系統做進了硬體裡,最明顯的就是各種智慧手錶。沒有 Android 的話,全球首款智慧手錶可能是明年才正式發售的 Apple Watch。
如果把眼光放遠一點,智慧硬體創業潮才剛剛開始,未來還有更多的想像空間。正是有了 Android,很多廠商才有了在智慧硬體領域試一試的可能。但是如果沒有 Android 的話,未來會有太多限制。
最後,以上種種,都會對我們的日常生活形成巨大的影響。對整體人類來說,如果沒有 Android,現在全球行動網路人口至少減半。對個人來說,如果沒有 Android,現在一部主流智慧手機的價格會在 2,000 元以上,買了手機之後,也很難享受到各種行動應用帶來的生活便利或者玩遊戲的歡樂時光,測個血壓也不會像現在那麼方便。
當然,你也可以說沒有 Android 的話,我們還會有 Bndroid 或者 Cndroid。但事實是,在 Android 出現的時候,真的沒有一個比它還要有競爭力的行動作業系統。就算會有替代品,可能也要晚上兩三年——如果你還在用兩年前的某款智慧手機,你肯定每天都想著要換一部手機。
雖然我使用 Android 手機總時間不超過半年,而且現在主力手機也並非 Android。但我還是要說,感謝 Android,感謝 Google。
(本文由 PingWest 授權轉載)