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12/28/2015
10:06 AM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Google In 2016: 11 Predictions

Will Google prevail in its legal battles over Android and its search business? Will it thrive under Alphabet? Here are our predictions for Google in 2016.

8 Hot Tech Jobs Getting Big Salary Bumps In 2016
8 Hot Tech Jobs Getting Big Salary Bumps In 2016
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Google as, it began, is no more. It has been reorganized and now operates as a subsidiary of Alphabet. Yet in its diminished role, it still generates the bulk of Alphabet's revenue. And it remains the focus of my ill-advised effort to predict the future.

In late 2014, I made 11 predictions about Google in 2015. I had six hits and five misses. I'd have preferred to do a bit better, but that's the nature of predicting the future. I'm sure inside information would have helped.

(Image: Archive.org)

(Image: Archive.org)

2015 Prediction Scorecard

1. Project Ara gains momentum.

False. Project Ara has yet to emerge from the lab. Its planned trial in Puerto Rico over the summer was cancelled. But competing modular phone projects Fairphone 2 and PuzzlePhone have been progressing.

2. Google adapts Hangouts and/or Chromecast to handle live game broadcasting.

True, through the Google Cast Remote Display APIs. The company also launched YouTube Gaming as a direct competitor to Twitch.

3. Google+ languishes.

True. Google decoupled Google+ from YouTube, so YouTube users no longer need the Google+ Profile that few seemed to want. In November, Google redesigned Google+ to focus on Communities and Collections. It's a modest shift but hardly a renewed commitment of resources.

4. Supreme Court sides with Oracle in Java API case.

True, more or less. The Supreme Court refused to hear Google's appeal of Oracle's appeals court win, which indicates that the justices find the lower court ruling consistent with the law.

5. Google makes EU antitrust settlement offer, and this time it sticks.

False, for now. The EU, under antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, demanded in June that Google change how it operates its search business. Google wants to work things out, but it's unclear whether the EU will compromise.

6. Google buys Belkin or another maker of connected things, but not GoPro.

False. The bulk of Google's acquisitions last year had to do with mobile software or services. But it did develop some IoT technology internally: Brillo and Weave.

7. Google launches paid streaming video service.

True. YouTube Red.

8. Google acquires, invests in, or partners with a 3D printing company.

True. Google Ventures led a $100 million investment round in Carbon 3D.

9. Google's Calico doesn't achieve an anti-aging breakthrough.

True, so far as we know.

[Read Google Cardboard Camera App Expands VR Experience.]

10. Google Glass is repurposed to accommodate Magic Leap's virtual reality system.

False, but Google is reportedly working on a revision of Google Glass, now referred to as Project Aura (not to be confused with Project Ara). And with over a million Google Cardboard headsets out in the world, there's more VR in Google's future.

11. Google buys SideCar.

False. Lesson learned: Be less specific when predicting the future.

So what about 2016?

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio
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progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 10:35:47 AM
Re: Google+ languishes
Agreed. Never understood what the intention was with Google+, it was a big swing-and-a-miss for Google, who usually connects on most everything.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 9:56:53 AM
Re: Google+ languishes
I think it will eventually go the way of Buzz.  The key features have already been folded into Gmail (back when Google was trying to claim that Google+ usership was way up by calling all Gmail and all Google-product users Google+ users).  It's a matter of time.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 9:55:35 AM
Re: Google+ languishes
I thought that Google+ Hangouts (much more than those stupid "Circles") were the potential game-changer for Google+ by enabling open videoconferencing (and video-socializing), but I feel they weren't leveraged very well.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2016 | 4:48:29 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
Google+ has a great idea from the begining but the product is not that impressive - I used it for some time but now I am not able to tell the differentiator - I cannot remember any outstanding feature from it.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
1/1/2016 | 11:34:23 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
@SunitaT0, I do hope we gonna see change soon...
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 10:55:26 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
Google+ needs to die out. I heard they were building an AI based messenger to enter the leagues of WhatsApp. Maybe it can, but not before 2018.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 10:53:47 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
@Sachin: Wow. I agree. You know the cardboard feature of YouTube can be extended to Google glass as well. It can work as a makeshift VR. I wonder if it can do what it boldly proclaims. Not the VR part though.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 10:51:41 PM
Re: Waiting for Google Glass
@Joshau I believe it was introduced too soon when people didn't know what connected technology was. Now they see it and use it in the form of Apple Watch and Galaxy Gear. Google glass would be a warm welcome this year.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 10:48:37 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
The newest renders of the Google glass has a futuristic design. I wonder if it will attract the eye of the looker. Obviously it will but I think Google glass should have been bifocal as it always was, but it should have been like normal spectacles.
JoshauCouture
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JoshauCouture,
User Rank: Strategist
12/29/2015 | 7:48:12 AM
Waiting for Google Glass
I am really fond of Google Glass. I thought it would be a quite useful product for many people like doctors, teachers, traffic cops, students etc. Ironically, time was not right and google had to take it back. But I really believe that it would make a stronger comeback in 2016.
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