Google is known as the biggest search engine in the world. In fact, they own the two biggest search engines in Google and YouTube. For long, search has been the bread and butter of Google. It’s what they’re known for and will continue to be associated with for the foreseeable future. With Q3 (Quarter 3) earnings in excess of 14 billion in 2013, one would say that they are doing quite well and I would have to agree with such a person, but Google is not one to rest on its laurels and I think it has become pretty obvious.
In the year 2011, Google launched its Chrome OS, much to the surprise of the general public. As with most things new, it was accepted by many, and laughed at by many more. It’s fair say that Chromebooks didn’t do much in their first year, and I don’t think that Google expected them to. 2012, however, was more of the same. People started warming up to the idea, but most just couldn’t fathom a laptop that ‘had to be connected to connected to the internet to work properly.’ This despite the fact that most laptops are constantly connected to the internet and most people do live in their browsers. As a result of this widespread scepticism, Chromebooks only accounted for 1% of the notebook market in 2012.
Supporters of the Chrome OS, like myself, were often heckled and scorned for our belief in this browser that posed as a laptop. It was difficult to swallow, but it was understandable. In the midst of the apparent failure of Chromebooks, something else happened; Microsoft launched Windows 8. Immediately, everyone’s attention shifted from the Chrome OS to Microsoft’s most recent addition. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows 8 was not readily received by the masses, and its sales have arguably lagged behind expectations.
Maybe, just maybe this was the silver lining that Chrome OS needed (pun intended). With Google giving Chromebooks to schools for free both locally and internationally, and some affordable offerings from Acer and Samsung, little by little, people started appreciating the little devices. No one knew just how well Chromebooks were doing in 2013 until NPD reported that they accounted for approximately 21% of notebook sales. This 20% increase is huge and it explains the targeted hate ads that Microsoft has been brewing. We knew they were scared, but now we understand why.
Devices like the recently announced but not yet released LG All in one Chrome PC, show the different faces that the OS comes in, and there is no doubt that the notebooks will continue to do well. With recent reports of the laptops eating into the sales of Macbooks also, I believe it won’t be long before Apple starts targeting them as well.
The Chromebooks weren’t the only pieces of Chrome affiliated hardware that stormed onto the scene this year, even though they were found to run on Android. The Chromecast was a surprise announcement by Google’s Sundar Pichai, the head of Chrome and new head of Android. Sold for $35 on Amazon and from Google Play, the Chromecast allowed Android and iOS users to share content with their televisions once the app in use supported it. Its price point and sleek build saw them sell out in a hurry and most admit their love for it. Google has reportedly had an eye on the living room for quite sometime now, and this device enabled it to enter, not only our living rooms, but also the hearts of many.
In December of this year, several new apps were added to the Chromecast’s lineup, with several more promised to make their way over in the near future. Once the owner of the pc and the mobile phone screens, Google now intends to control the television, and I believe that we are all keen to see what goodies lie in wait for us.
If anyone didn’t know about the Chrome OS, or the name ‘Chrome’ before 2013, they probably know it now. It has been a good year for divergence in Google’s camp, and I have a hunch that they already know how to monetize these gems that they have recently unearthed.