Google In 2016: 11 Predictions - InformationWeek

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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
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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.

(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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SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 9:59:57 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
Google+ is cluttered with its over minimalistic design and communication solution, something that doesn't attract the eye of the looker. When G+ was released I took one look at it and said its boring because it looked boring. The design of the Gmail Chat looks more interesting and something that would catch the eye.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 9:57:41 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
@Pedro: Since Google glass works on a connected backbone network it always has to have its presence inside a network for you to be using it to its optimal usage. I haven't used Google glass but from the DIY videos on YouTube I think Google glass is an amazing piece of technology. If everything becomes connected then I don't see why people wont accept Google glass.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 5:06:03 PM
Re: Google+ languishes
I think if Google Glass can be made to look less geeky may be more consumers will want to get it.  There were many skits ridiculing how geeky was not user friendly at all.  People aren't ready for Google glass or may be Google Glass isn't ready for people.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
12/28/2015 | 11:26:32 AM
Google+ languishes
Really went out on a limb there with the Google+ prediction!  ;)  That puppy was limping right out of the barrel, and no amount of hyperevangelism from Elgan and Scoble can get normal people to like it (or even +1 it) and use it.
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