The Next Step

“Now, Google’s no stranger to crazy experiments, and not all of them will necessarily change the world: for every self-driving car and wearable display, there’s an army of employees working on personal engineering projects. But it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s happening here.” - Sean Hollister of The Verge in Google building secret wireless network, says it involves ‘highly competitive consumer electronics’.

The last decade has seen Google evolve from a company focused on search and ad revenue to a multi-faceted corporation capable of producing everything from cell phones to the necessary software to operate those devices. These changes attracted but trivial sustained attention in a space defined and dominated by Apple bloggers and their copycats, as did the announcement that Google had entered into the internet service provider space with high speed fiber lines in select cities. Just as with the actions of Apple though, there is an interesting trend to be uncovered for those diligent enough to look for it.

Google began on the web; Apple, with physical devices. More than ten years later both companies have begun to encroach upon the other’s speciality, Google with the advent of the Chromebook and the acquisition of Nokia, and Apple as it begins to develop its ability to build competitive cloud services. Disregarding the question of whether these services are comparable — whether the Chromebook is comparable to a Macbook, for example, or if iCloud is a comparable service to Google Drive — and simply looking at these steps in their most basic form reveals a common trend, one that is often recognized with Apple but very seldomly, if at all, with respect to Google: the move towards complete vertical integration. In other words, complete control of every aspect of the user’s experience.

With the rumor that Google may soon begin developing its own cellular network, we see another step towards that goal of complete control, one that Apple has yet to undertake.