Google Uber Alles. They enter a product category with the intention of world domination. So why bring out the Nexus 7 when they know it can’t compete with the iPad? Simple: They want to control your mind.
Why does Google even need an e-reader in their line up? What are their motivations for bringing it out? After all, they are an advertising company. Why bring out a mobile web browser? Google never brings out something that sucks (except for iGoogle, whatever that was). When Google enters a market, they bring out a product and compete with the market leaders within one iteration. They killed Metacrawler and Yahoo with their search engine. They clobbered Apple’s iPhone with the Android. So why bring out a slate/tablet/pad (whatever the heck Nexus is) that doesn’t hold a candle to the iPad?
Advertising. It took a few years, but Apple figured out why Google gave them a free killer mapping app to put on the iPhone: advertisements for places near your current location or your destination. Ever been in a different neighborhood and typed “sushi” or “Mexican” or “proctologist” into Google Maps on your phone? OK, fine. Sushi then. Worked well, right?
So why the Nexus 7?
Because Samsung and their other Android partners were trying to compete with Apple. Google doesn’t care about the iPad market. They already own the advertising on the Mac and iPad via their search engine and maps. What Google wants next is to read your mind. Here is how they’re going to do it:
1) But my iPad Rocks! – In many ways, yes. My 12-year-old son replaced his laptop with an iPad and snap-in keyboard. Took notes on it every day in 6th grade. An iPad is better than a laptop, no contest. But to replace a paper book? Too heavy, too glassy, too backlit, and too many touch sensitive areas. You can only hold an iPad by the edges and after a long read your thumbs get tired. Not so with the smaller form-factor and lighter weight Kindle Touch. Nexus 7 steps in between the two, offering the power of the iPad at almost half the weight (22 ounce iPad versus 12 for Nexus).
2) Kindle/Nook killer – why kill someone else’s business? Google did not set out to kill them. But kill them they will. Why? Because both Amazon and Barnes & Noble blew it. They offer e-readers that force people to come to their websites and buy only from them. Google makes money every time you ask “what time is it”. How? Now that they know you need a watch, they sell screen space to watch makers. You don’t even need to buy the watch for them to make money putting an ad in front of your nose. That doesn’t mean they want to take over Amazon’s $51Billion retail business. At the moment, Google enjoys a 27% profit margin compared to Amazon’s 1%. If they took over retail, it would hurt the bottom line. They don’t care where you buy your book, as long as they know what you’re reading and highlighting. Which an Android device can track.
3) Built for reading – Not spreadsheets and word processors. The Nexus 7 is built to read books. And websites. And advertising. And search engines. And Wikipedia. And everything else. Buried in your reading habits, books and page visits, is the key to what you really yearn for: a new ___. And now that they know you want it, Google has just the sponsor to offer it to you.
4) Advertising benefits from watching your eyes – Advertising is all Google does. Everything else is just a means to get the right advertising in front of you. Highlight a phrase in a book about Bondage? Boats? Beer? Bermuda? Maybe you like Cheese, Canada, Canoes, Congas. Or Alliteration, Arizona, Arachnids, … OK. I’m done. Google has people willing to pay for a pop-up advertisement, right next to your next favorite topic. Targeted ads showing only things that interest you. Not only the items you want but from retailers just three blocks away (because they know where you are standing—right now). That’s not enough. They crave the next level of feedback for their advertisers. What made you ignore that last ad? The dancing mortgage guy, you looked away. Turned off? What will bring your eyes to the right-hand sidebar? They need to know that so they can make you look. MAKE YOU LOOK at the advertisement. How? See that tiny camera on your screen? They can track whether you look at an ad or not … Oh, no. You’re right. They would never watch you without your express written permission. Right? Right? Would they?
Paranoid yet? That tickling sensation behind your eyes, the one that feels like a headache? They’re scanning your brain, man. Grab your tinfoil hat. It’s going to be a long, strange millennium.
Peace, Seeley James