Even Steve Jobs would applaud the extent to which Google is disrupting multiple markets right now. Google isn't just thinking different; it's thinking moonshot. Drones. Self-driving cars. Super-fast broadband in a range of US cities.
And absurdly low compute pricing. In late March, Google set off a cloud services and storage price war that forced Amazon.com and Microsoft to respond -- to the delight of customers. As my colleague Charlie Babcock explained, whether or not Google ends up poaching a lot of Amazon customers, Google has made it harder for the incumbent to profit from its own cloud customers, so Google wins either way.
Google made it clear this week that it's looking to disrupt yet another market, as it previewed Project Ara, a modular smartphone hardware system. Ara lets consumers configure phones themselves by snapping together pieces on a frame -- like Lego bricks, as our mobile guru Thomas Claburn noted. Display broken? No need to ditch the whole phone. Want that new camera? Just snap on a new piece. That anticipation you feel for the new iPhone? Google aims to eat it for breakfast. Look for the first Project Ara phones early next year.
But as much as those Google innovations delight and excite the general public, Google Glass does not -- yet. That assessment is evident in reader reaction to our story on Google's decision to put its wearable device on sale to the public for one day this week. Story author Eric Zeman declared he would not plunk down $1,500 for Glass -- and many of you agreed. Google just hasn’t convinced most of us of a burning need for this device. The price is too high, and then there's the creepy factor. As one reader wrote: "I am sure that in a few narrow niches, there is a real use for this tech. It's just, as it is, there is nothing on Glass that hits me as something I need to have in front of my eyes."
Of course, many of us had the same reaction to the iPad when it arrived. What's the burning need? You know how that one turned out.
Google's disruptive ideas go well beyond Glass, smartphones, and driverless cars. You've probably heard that Google just acquired a drone maker, but did you know it's working on flying windmills? I'm not making this stuff up. Check out that and more of Google's moonshot ideas in Google's 10 Big Bets On The Future.
- InformationWeek Editors