Google and Apple spend untold billions each year on what is termed research and development. R&D What does each company and their users and customers get for such vast sums?
Apple’s Steve Jobs was the master of focus and argued with Google’s Larry Page that his company was unfocused and doing too much. Page responded.
It’s unsatisfying to have all these people. If we just do the same things we did before and not do something new, it seems like a crime to me.
That makes sense.
In other words, according to Google’s CEO and co-founder, the company has all these riches from search engine advertising, why not put them to use to find the next great thing to impact people’s lives. It would be criminal not to invest those riches in a way that benefits humanity. After all, Microsoft’s Bill Gates has devoted tens of billions to help people.
What has Apple done with the company’s tens of billions of riches? Do Apple products let the blind see? Does the iPad help people to learn? Does the iPhone help us to communicate better, and keep informed? One can make that argument with ease, and the end result is that Apple’s products and hundreds of millions of customer help to push humanity forward. How so? Products in the marketplace that are actually used by people to enrich or improve their lives.
What of Page’s lofty goals for Google?
Android, like iOS and iPhone, has improved how people use their smartphones, and to a lesser extent, improved inexpensive tablet devices. Search engines and advertising remain Google’s bread and butter but are less impressive uses of technology to help the great unwashed masses of humanity.
What Jobs and Page were talking about, though, were futuristic product concepts, of which Google has many, and where Apple seldom speaks. There’s Google Glass. The self-driving car. Contact lenses to monitor diabetes. A spoon which stays steady in shaky hands. Loon, the balloon powered internet. And many, many more conceptual products, technology ideas which take up R&D research money but which are not translated into products that masses of people can actually use. Google+ doesn’t count. Google may be more massive than ever, but how do those products qualify as something new that impacts mankind in a positive way?
In other words, Page’s lofty goals to try something new are commendable, but the end result has been much the same old Google. As Google’s search engine and Chrome browser are on the desktop, Android, likewise, is an advertising machine. YouTube is an advertising machine. Most public facing Google products have users, not customers. And those users have their personal information culled, extracted, and processed for Google’s real customers– advertisers.
For all the public relations fluff and lofty goals for products that someday one day could impact mankind for the better, Google remains what it has always been. A technology driven advertising machine that turns people’s information into cash that enriches the lives of Google’s employees and little else.
How does that compare and contrast to Apple’s Jobs inspired laser focus on products that can actually be used by customers? Therein lies a notable difference and distinction. Apple turns ideas into products that can be used by people. Google turns ideas into conceptual products that fill the pages of PR releases but, thanks to the short memory of readers and mass media, never see the light of day and are seldom heard of again.