In the new year, Google TV will struggle but gain traction while Android thrives and Chrome OS proves surprisingly popular.
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Slideshow: Top 10 Google Stories Of 2010
4. Embrace Of DRM
Google's recent acquisition of streaming video and DRM company Widevine suggests that the company is looking to make friends in Hollywood by offering more protection for video content. By the end of 2011, Google TV's prospects should look a bit brighter. And chances are that Google, having invested in DRM, implemented Adobe DRM for e-books, and crowed about the success of YouTube's Content ID system, will use the word "open" in its blog posts less than it did in 2010.
5. Music Service Kicks Into Gear
Content owners' fears are also what's holding up Google's cloud-based music service. Having seen the power that Apple has through iTunes, music providers are understandably wary of surrendering too much to Google. At the same time, the music industry would have more negotiating leverage were Google competing with Apple and Amazon in the online music distribution business. So expect a few signed deals and an announcement in March or April.
6. Chrome Continues Upward Trajectory
Google Chrome will reach a global market share of 16% by the end of 2011. The Chrome Web Store will expand to include iGoogle widgets. And iGoogle will figure prominently in Google's social plans.
7. The Mainstream Cloud, Improved Developer Access
Rajen Sheth, senior product manager in Google's enterprise group, believes that in 2011 some of Google's big bets on the future -- cloud computing, mobile, and workplace productivity -- will pay off. He says that cloud computing has gone mainstream and expects that the value proposition of Chrome OS -- the Web without the security or maintenance problems of PCs -- will create more cloud converts.
Sheth suggests that Google will continue to look for ways to make its various platforms -- the Web and Android -- more accessible to developers, through tools like App Inventor and Apps Script. He also says that Google will continue to look for ways to make knowledge workers more productive, through collaboration, automated filtering, and other information management tools.
"We are at a bit of an inflection point right now, after years of seeding cloud computing," he said in a phone interview. "Now that cloud computing and the Google model has taken hold, I think we can really change the way people work."
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.