Google shocked just about everyone in the Tech world last week when it announced the purchase of Nest, the home automation company behind the popular thermostat of the same name. Google is no rookie to buying companies, having gobbled up Bump, Bitspin, Boston Dynamics and 18 others in 2013 alone.
Yet no one really saw the acquisition of Nest coming. And with Larry Page’s peculiar comments at I/O last year wishing he had an island free from regulation, no one really has any idea what Google will do next.
As much as we love to see smaller companies and startups flourish without giving in to the big money of a company like Google, here are a few ideas about who Google should most definitely have their eye on next:
One of the most disappointing releases Google made in recent years came in the form of the Nexus Q. The Q was Google’s attempt at a set-top box, or in this case a set-top sphere, and it was a paltry attempt at best. Billed as a “social-media streamer” the Q boasted an interesting, if somewhat puzzling design, decent power—but not much else. It lacked necessary apps for any media-streamer like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video and was widely overpriced. Unsurprisingly, the streamer did not last very long and is no longer offered on the Google Play store.
Enter Roku. The Saratoga based company makes a popular line of streaming devices that are fast, user friendly and have a huge amount of content available. They’re also cheap. The priciest Roku comes in at $99, the same price as the Apple TV, and the cheapest options will pull just $50 from your pocket. If Google were to pick up Roku, they’d be adding an already popular streaming box to their lineup that could be rebranded as a Nexus device and pitted against the Apple TV.
Google and Asus go way back. At least in the way time works in the tech world. The two have had a relationship for years now, with Asus building both iterations of the Nexus 7 as well as an upcoming line of Chromebooks. Despite the fact that the PC market is in decline, Chromebooks continually sell well and Chrome OS is most definitely on the up and up. Add the recent news of dual OS PCs running both Windows and Android on the horizon and the time could be perfect for Google to dip further into the personal computer market in the same way the did when they bought Motorola back in 2012. What better way to enter than by gobbling up a respected hardware builder?
The Ouya is an interesting tale. Touting a “new type of console” that would revolutionize the video game world, intrigue in the Android driven gaming machine exploded upon its announcement. The device’s Kickstarter goal was $950,000. It raised $3.5 million in the first two days and over $8.5 million total. Yet, despite its over abundant funding, the Ouya never fully delivered on its promises. Reception of the console has been lukewarm at best, with many claiming the device has serious faults, chief among them build quality and a less than friendly interface. But this is only round one.
The Ouya, given its cheap, cheap, cheap price of $99 still has heaps of potential because it can continually change without asking users to invest a lot of money in each iteration. Android has become more and more gamer friendly, with Google going as far as touting the 2013 Nexus 7 as a perfect gaming device. If Google is really that interested in gaming, a console would be the next logical step. And under the guidance of the great minds at Mountain View, the Ouya just might reach its full potential.
Let’s get a little crazy. The above companies are, if unlikely, certainly plausible purchases for Google to make. The next two are farther out on a limb. We’ve heard about the flirtation between Sprint and T-Mobile, with a possible merger of the two wireless providers coming in the near future. But with Google’s foot solidly in the mobile door as the company behind Android, Motorola, and the Nexus line, why not buy a carrier?
Google has already shown desire to break the normal cell phone plan model by offering its Nexus phones at affordable off-contract prices, so T-Mobile, who is trying to completely revolutionize the industry with its Uncarrier campaign, would be a nice acquisition if Google is serious about changing the mobile game. Are they? No one knows, and this would be a fantasy scenario purchase if it were to ever happen. Yet owning a carrier could help Google boost sales of Motorola and Nexus devices and would also give them something no one else in the industry has.
Sure, Tesla already has a forward thinking multi-billionaire at its helm. But Elon Musk is a busy man with a lot of dreams. Who’s to say that in five years he won’t be more dedicated to his Hyperloop than he is to Tesla? If he were willing to watch Tesla go, Google could be the perfect hands to snatch it up. Combining their self-driving car technology and Tesla’s electric car technology, the pairing could be a match made in cruise control enthusiast heaven.