Forget hardware, Google wants user data, Pixelbook laptops to Pixel phone notwithstanding
- Yes, Google does make hardware and we have seen them in the form of Pixelbook or Pixel phones, but hardware is just not central to the big profit picture that Google is actually painting.
Yes, Google does make hardware and we have seen them in the form of Pixelbook, Pixel phones or even Chromebooks, but hardware is just not central to the big profit picture that Google is actually painting. For Google, it is not the gadgets that are important, it is the user data and for that its software is doing a fine job even as other hardware companies do the hard work or making and selling their products on which Goggle software is riding. They are also taking the risk of making products that may or may not sell, but that is something that Google does not need to worry about.
What Google is doing making hardware is to test the waters with its software and perhaps even gently prod manufacturers down pathways that they should go. Then Google sits back and collects the user data that flows through its software on other companies' hardware- phones to computers and more.
Providing an example is Android Central. Take for instance what happened to Pixelbook. Google simply cancelled the line! Now, the fans of the product were much displeased, but as far as Google was concerned it all made perfect sense. After showing other companies the product' capabilities, Google withdrew and other companies, which manufacture laptops, took over.
In that respect, Google resembles Microsoft rather than Apple simply because it creates software for other people to put in their products while the latter builds products and also tailors software for them.
Yes, both Google and Microsoft also manufacture products as was mentioned earlier, but the intent is entirely different. Google makes products in order to test and improve its software to the greatest extent possible. Through these products Google tries out "specialised hardware configurations", as Android Central said, to improve its other businesses. That is why Google has a long list of products it makes including cameras, wi-fi routers and more.
The end result is ultimately always a desire to collect more and more users data even though it may well be losing money on these hardware products. And user data is where Google actually makes its money.
"I think that their final aim may be the information of users obtained through the device use rather than generating revenue through device sales itself," said Sujeong Lim, research analyst at Counterpoint Research.
In effect, it is a win-win situation for all involved, from companies to the users themselves- as long as they don't find their privacy being exploited.
And this strategy is likely to be deployed in the Pixel Watch too. Once the other smartwatch manufacturers pick up and run with similar products, Google is likely to step back once the target is achieved. and if the product fails, it simply stops making them.
One thing is clear though, if Google was able to get everything it wants from other companies' hardware, it would most probably not be in the manufacturing business at all. Since it cannot, it has to do it.
So, killing off its hardware for Google is just part and parcel of the business that goes to fatten its profits.