Tablets

What to look for from Google in 2012

Kevin Purdy gazes into his crystal ball to find out what Google is planning for 2012 and how they expect to accomplish it.

I’ve been told by the powers on high at TechRepublic that the last week of December is a week for prognosticating, pontificating, and presumption (and, possibly, alliteration). To take stock of what Google has done in 2011, to assess what it wants to do in 2012, and guess at how it will try to get it done. This is exciting for many reasons.

A decent Android tablet with an eye for business

Google chairman Eric Schmidt said in an interview with an Italian magazine that Google planned to market (in rough translation) a high-quality tablet in the next six months. If we take Schmidt to mean that Google plans to partner with a hardware partner to create a kind of best-of-breed, benchmark-setting tablet, similar to the role of Google’s Nexus line of Android phones, then it could be quite the interesting move.

I’ve used three of the most prominent (and expensive) Android tablets made so far, the Motorola XOOM and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, in both its 7-inch and 10.1-inch versions. None of these tablets are, shall we say, making waves, or causing me to recommend anything other than the iPad to those seeking tablet advice. But with Ice Cream Sandwich, Android’s 4.0 release, and a tablet that Google itself is invested in, an Android tablet might just a chance at competing against the only tablet that matters right now. The biggest challenge, really, is getting developers interested and excited in developing apps specifically for larger Android tablet screens. Secondary to that is getting big firms interested in developing customized tablets to their employees.

More powers for Google+ Page administrators

Right now, Pages in Google+ are a stop-gap solution to letting businesses and brands make their presence known on Google’s young and scrappy social network. One person, tied to one Google+ personal account, creates a Page for an organization or entity, and that person alone uses that Page like a second account: posting, commenting, adding people to circles, and so on. So it’s pretty easy for Google to improve its Pages, because everything needs to be improved.

Google+ will work quickly to give third-party developers access to important APIs, and will allow multiple users to administer a Google+ Page. It will give Google+ Pages the ability to do unique things that individuals cannot do: video-chat Hangouts beyond 10 participants, perhaps, or tight integration and monitoring from Google Apps installations. Pages need to do something new, and rather quickly, because they don’t do much else at the moment.

A bigger push on Chromebooks, in a different direction

Tech writers, especially those covering gadgets, are quick to write off entire product lines as “dead” if big sales figures don’t follow about six months after big launches. But Google’s Chromebook effort is something else entirely. It wasn’t a really huge push to begin with, and it’s part of a larger strategy of getting big business to see Google as an able carrier of their enterprise data.

Google could do a few different things--drastically subsidize its monthly fees for businesses to lease Chromebooks is one idea, but a push into the education market, where IT and upgrade costs are definitely felt, might be another move. Either way, I wouldn’t expect Google to give up on Chromebooks in 2012.

Smarter contact management and fix-ups

Actually, this one’s a bit of a crutch. I wish for this every single year, as do a dedicated crew of Google Apps installers I know. And every year, people ask us what to do about their quadruple copies of contacts and unpredictable device syncing, and we end up telling them some version of, “Be grateful their Google user image didn’t get swapped with yours, because that can happen, too.”

Google makes it nice and easy to transfer contacts from existing Outlook/Exchange accounts, and from stand-alone computer address books. If it could focus on giving Contacts, a service at the core of everything the search giant will ever do, a bit of much-needed love and attention to detail, there would be one less reason to think of the cloud as a thin layer.

About

Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.

7 comments
Banterista
Banterista

Wouldn't it be great if Google would implement some serious capability in their docs offering instead of the noddy basic versions of MS Office. I have many customers who would migrate from MS Office but the limited capability of Google Docs doesn't allow them to do that. For example, there is no data validation function in forms and no vba equivalent. When I spoke to Google about this in early 2011, they said, "We do recognise the need for improvement but other developments have priority right now."

sysxadmin
sysxadmin

The end user does NOT need a 30-40G operating system to carry with them, when they can use a small footprint OS and vpn into work. Chrome OS is perfect, 1.6 million lines of code compared to Windows 50-60+ MILLION lines of code full of exploits waiting to be found. End users need a system that is not plagued by viruses/malware/spyware/blue_screens and endless supply of updates with reboots. Google needs to MARKET to the Enterprise with devices that are (instant on) and connect through the VPN and allow you access everything. This would save tons of money and allow the devices to be secure than a laptop with GIGS of data. Google has the talent, money and ability to make this happen. End users do NOT have to have MS Office to create a (.doc), (.xls) ect... I work from a Linux distro at work, I am more productive than a Windows counterpart where everything is more money.

timothyf7
timothyf7

Don't get me wrong, I'm a 100% Google fan. But after reading the press releases from Google, I still know nothing. Their entire release is vague and slight of hand. They give no real details on anything. It's like a teenager telling you 'I'm going to be a NBA Star!', but doesn't tell you the commitment, strategy nor plan on how they are going to achieve this. Any company can come out and make the statements Google did in its release. I'm not from Missouri - but "Show ME' don't tell me your wishful thinking!

gevander
gevander

I search the App Store about every other week hoping someone, **ANYONE**, will have made available a better "contact manager" (and I use the term loosely) for Android on my phone. They added "postal addresses" within the last few weeks, but the interface is still kludgy. Can't they just let me use my PC's google interface (gmail, Google+, etc) directly on my phone? Auto-sync, etc?

dogknees
dogknees

Isn't this the second-last week?

susancline
susancline

Do you see options for contact sharing in your crystal ball?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you have a Google prediction to share? Do you foresee a new and improved Android tablet coming in 2012?

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