The largest companies that “govern” the world today are no longer the mechanical, manufacturing, and industrial ones, as Ford or Toyota once were, for example, but are those that somehow have to do with technology, the Internet, and information. Today the planet sees five protagonists in terms of business, five giants that practically compete for the entire market of new technologies. They are Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple. We want to focus on the last two to make a healthy and objective comparison of what these two giants have done, are doing, and will do.
Google Inc. is a US company that offers online services, mainly known for the Google search engine, the Android operating system, and web services such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and many others. Google enters practically every sector of our lives: it enters us when we search on the Internet, when we use maps, Android phones, and tablets, when we watch a video, and when we use email. It also gets into it when we see advertisements on websites that often use the AdSense-AdWords platform.
Google has geostationary satellites above our heads. It has mapped the seabed, the Earth, and the sky with Sky Map. AppleInc. is an American information technology company that manufactures operating systems, computers, and multimedia devices in Cupertino, Silicon Valley. Founded in 1976 and known worldwide since the early 1980s thanks to the wide range of Macintosh computers, its name is currently associated with the iPod digital music player, the iTunes Store online music store, the iPhone, and the iPad tablet. Over time, Apple has introduced numerous innovations in high technology and design applied to computer products to the general public.
As of August 2011, Apple is one of the world’s largest companies by share capitalization and, most valuable, ahead of its perennial rival Microsoft. A monster with 156 billion in annual turnover and 73,000 employees. Apple is, ultimately, a company that has changed how we live many times. As we said in an article comparing the iPad mini and the 128 Giga iPad, “Apple is one of the biggest companies this planet has ever seen under the sun, from different points of view. It has innovated, revolutionized, and changed the way of life and understanding of technology.
Like it or not, it was the first company to interpret bits and cases and CPUs as something aesthetic, beautiful, and fashionable: and it did so with extremely advanced systems, which in turn changed the way we interface with devices (…) Before Apple, all instruments were thought to be machines that had to be interfaced through machines (mouse, keyboards, pens, etc.). After the same apparatus (operating systems, interfaces, and everything else) have become hand-friendly and finger-friendly on a human scale.
Apple changed how we communicate with each other, invented fashions where there were only nerds, and did something that had never been done before. It made a set of chips and electrical circuits “emotional.” The direction both companies take is similar: to create an ecosystem in which people can feel at ease, develop their habits, and never detach themselves from it. The cloud services offered by both Apple and Google are used for this: “put your data with us, and they are safe, then you will never move them again because you are lazy and don’t know the other services.”
The same goes for everything. iPhone and Android devices are the same things. That is, they generate an army of individuals accustomed to a device who cannot think there is anything better. That’s why Google, in the wake of Apple’s enormous success with the iPhone, bought Android, and that’s why Apple, in the wake of the great success of cloud systems such as Amazon and DropBox, thought of iCloud. Nothing is created, and nothing is destroyed, one would think. In recent years, the battle has played out a great deal on software and services, in the sense that iTunes has revolutionized and changed how we listen to music and “own” it.
In contrast, Google has staked everything on its search engine and the “web application” that made it a behemoth, like YouTube, Google Maps, or Gmail. But with the iPhone, everything has changed, and it has changed for a fundamental reason: technology is no longer something detached from our bodies and our brains. It no longer helps us do the same thing we did before, but in short. Technology has become personal and personalized. Technology has merged with us. Before the iPhone on our cell phones, we could only find a phone book and a few text messages.
Today we can see ALL of our life, therefore who we are: music, movies, holiday videos, customer contracts, all emails exchanged with everyone and photos since we were children.
All. Our smartphone is us, and we are our smartphone. Under these conditions, it is obvious that the two companies have a path to follow and to develop, namely that of devices that can increasingly become a part of us, tools that allow us to merge real life with digital life: wearable devices.
In this regard, Google has already produced and will shortly market Google Glass: “Project Glass is a research and development program by Google Inc. to develop a pair of glasses equipped with augmented reality. The product will be available to Google I/O developers in the United States in early 2013, with a consumer release planned for 2014. These glasses put us in direct contact with Google Plus, the Mountain View social network (and here we should open another post about Facebook Vs. Google), and allow us to interact with all the people who are part of the ecosystem.
Science fiction? Not really, but simple, pure, and crystalline synergy. Fusion between the digital and the real. This video explains perfectly what it is. A pair of glasses that will allow us to live two lives together. A couple of drinks, listen, listen, which, to work, must be connected to an Android device which is in turn connected to the Internet. As if to say, “we give you heaven for free, but you leave us your data.” And Apple, however, what is he thinking? The next challenge of the Apple company seems to be what is already called “iWatch,” with all due respect to those who hoped that the “i” in front of everything would not last forever. The Cupertino house is preparing a smartwatch based on the iOS operating system that can adapt perfectly to the shape of the wrist. Transparent. Yes, yes, really fine and flexible. This sounds like science fiction, too.
“Apple is preparing a watch with a 1.5-inch display capable of connecting to the other devices of the group via Bluetooth. The detail suggests that the iWatch will not be born to cannibalize the other Apple products but to make some of their characteristics “wearable.” We can therefore imagine interrogating Siri by bringing the face close to the wrist and immediately obtaining an answer on the iPhone screen or receiving a notification of an SMS or an incoming call on the iPhone on the watch. Or again, why not let us be guided step by step by Apple’s maps in an unprecedented wrist version”.
We are still determining what the consequences of what these companies are doing, of the technologies they are experimenting with, will be, but what we do know is that they are just around the corner. We don’t know if we’ll crash into light poles using Google Glass due to distraction or find a soul mate. We are curious to know if, thanks to the iWatch. We will be able to free our hands from the ubiquitous iPhone/iPad, or we will risk going off the road by car by talking to the Siri voice assistant, but what we do know is that these companies have changed the world, everyone, including us.