In the latest version of Android, Google shifted from bitmaps to vector rendering for maps. The shift is probably more a function of available processing power on the device than a strategic shift to position value on the device rather than in the cloud. Vector maps, which are much more efficient in terms of bandwidth and local storage, have been the choice for in-car navigators but Google has always been using bitmap tiles which are fetched from a server and delivered only if the device is using a data connection. The downside for vectors is that they require a bit more local processing power.
I doubt that Google’s move to vectors is part of a shift to more app-centered/edge-of-network strategy.
How is this relevant?
Google has been riding a wave of re-centralization of value toward the center of the network as broadband made the cloud feasible. Keep in mind that Microsoft rode a wave of de-centralization as value moved to the PC and away from the mainframe. As intelligence was pushed to the edge, Microsoft accrued value from enabling the edge as a locus of productivity. This is no small thing.
Then came apps.
Revised language for section 3.3.9 of Apple’s developer agreement, concerning the use of data collection:
The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent
via Apple Makes Good on Steve Jobs’s Promise, Invites Other Advertisers. But What About Google’s AdMob? | Peter Kafka | MediaMemo | AllThingsD.
Apple is stating that user data must be handled by organizations that are strictly independent. If the ad service provider is part of an organization that either competes with Apple’s devices or platform, it’s not independent.
AdMob would have been allowed to operate unhindered on iOS but AdMob as part of Google is not.
Conversely, if Google were to abandon Android, the path to riches would be open again. As shown several times already, by pursuing a mobile device platform Google strategically abandoned some significant revenue opportunities in exchange for some extraordinarily high costs.
Readers of this blog should not be surprised.
Daniel Eran Dilger in fine form after Apple became the world’s largest technology company by market capitalization.
These days, Apple’s primary competitors have all fallen down on their knees while clutching their gutted bellies…
Who is left? Google, the paid search giant that backers hope will beat Apple in hardware and software platforms… despite Google being neither a hardware vendor (nor marketer nor retailer nor support provider) nor having any real experience in managing a software platform for consumers. Fans of Google suggest that the company will take on Apple by acquiring a competing version of everything Apple has built over the last decade: iTunes, a mobile platform, hardware expertise, user interface design savvy, development tools, and a user base.
The problem is, they don’t also foresee that Apple could compete against Google in its own home territory of ads.
via How Apple could slay Google at WWDC 2010 — RoughlyDrafted Magazine.
The key assumption in the “Google can buy anything Apple already has” is that of the three things that make up a company (resources, processes and priorities) the only thing cash can buy is resources, and, in the tech world, even those are fragile things with legs that can walk out the front door.
Google’s innovation pipeline:
- new mobile OS
- updated mobile browser
- rich mobile ads
- Google TV
It used to be that Microsoft’s agenda was written in Cupertino, now they are no longer the only ones in line at the copy machine.
Google gives up on Nexus One online store, moves to retail | Electronista.
So much for Google the Shopkeeper.
UPDATE: This also puts the idea of Android generating any revenue for Google at a logical dead end. As it stands tactically and strategically, Android is a financial black hole in perpetuity.
Android remains, in my opinion, Google’s biggest failure.