03 November 2012


How many companies have an entire world of people (outside Redmond) that will settle for nothing less than their product, which has delivered to them an endless supply of revenue. This is a company that has enough financial resources to do, within reason, anything they want. And they have. They envision the ideal of how things should work, and still generate revenue for them, then they take their best shot at it. Sure, they often fail, or sometimes their vision does not mix with reality, but this is a company turning profit into amazing free or near free products for everyone. And that is why competitors and even some consumers hate Google and their crazy business model.

You know Gmail, YouTube, Google Voice, Google+, Google Maps, Street View, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Analytics, Google Calendar and the dozens of other web-based products. They are fabulous and, for the most part, they are free. Google collects your information and creates unique advertising opportunities that allow them to make revenue while limiting the disturbance by said promotions. Provided you are not dealing in highly confidential material, this is a trade made in heaven for consumers.

Some will argue that Google is destroying the competition by giving stuff away for free but common sense tells us otherwise. Internet Explorer did not destroy web browser competition, Kroger did not put Whole Foods into chapter 11, McDonalds did not destroy steak houses and tap water did not move Coca-Cola to the toilet paper business. This is capitalism and consumers will choose what fits their needs best.

Google's true world-changing opportunity is happening on the hardware end of the equation. While Android may have have sent Steve Jobs to the nuclear front as a theft of iPhone, today this product is truly a unique operating system that makes iOS look as imaginative as Melba Toast. (Though many people love Melba Toast.) The continuous innovation and a "free" price has helped Google's little piece of software turn into the Windows of mobile phones. Were that not enough, it is now starting to eat up huge chunks of the tablet world, too, thanks to Amazon's Android variant and the Google's own Nexus devices.

In the United States, the change being injected is even more insidious. Google appears to be on a mission to end the domination of the cellular carrier and, with a little luck, they may actually succeed.

Google's new Nexus 4 appears to be an amazing piece of hardware with specs on par or better than anything on the market, including the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3. Screen resolution, speed, NFC, wireless charging, camera quality - it has it. No surprise there since it is just now being released.

What is amazing about this new phone is the price. For three hundred bucks you own the device. No contract. You own it and can use it on any carrier you want at deep discounts over contract monthly costs. Suddenly abandoning two year contracts from T-MobileVerizon, AT&T and Sprint are in reach of everyone. Even more crazy is that you can run this phone (thanks to Google Voice) without any cellular contract at all! Yes, you can get phone calls, text messages and run all the apps you like with nothing more than Wi-Fi connections.

Some are complaining, "but it doesn't have LTE!" Like it matters. Yes, theoretically LTE can run much faster, but in practice the HSPA+ on Nexus 4 will keep data flowing much faster than 3G. The critical element here is that most of us spend the bulk of our day clouded in Wi-Fi networks at home or the office, a connection much more consistent and faster than cellular networks of any kind, and this device will run better than anything on that pipe while saving you fifty bucks a month on your cellular bill. One can easily envision a future where people carry Google mobile devices that are all free from wireless carriers.

This move is consistent with everything Google does. They build products that give individuals what they want for as little as possible and in return they continue to collect information that feeds their bottom line to fund more products that give us what we want for free. It is the circle of Google. Yes, all the while they continue to piss off nearly any company that sells something that competes with their products. They have a very good reason to hate Google because it is tough to win against a company that is giving great things away to the masses, but until someone can find a way to cut off the river of cash flowing their way consumers like us will be forced to continue to use all of their wonderful toys.