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.
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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.
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. 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.
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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