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Also, Larry and Sergey got obsessed with useless and irrelevant things. (Flying cars? Robot butlers? Airship yachts? Glass?)



Those were pretty much the only reasons I continued to admire Google for as long as I did. They gave hope that the company might one day have a meaningful consumer revenue stream that isn’t advertising.

They’ve gone for “cloud services” instead. Drastically, drastically, less inspiring — and also pretty competitive. What happens if Amazon drop their prices a bit?


AWS accounts for something like half of Amazon’s operating revenue. It may not be exciting but it is a license to print money. Why wouldn’t google (and MSFT, and anyone else with a big sunk investment in data centers) want to monetize their investment too?

Originally bezos was pissed off that Amazon’s excess capacity for the Black Friday/Christmas surge was going to waste the other 50 weeks of the year. I suspect that’s a pretty powerful motivation. But google absorbs huge spikes too (9/11 was one of the first harbingers of this) so it seemed inevitable, even back then, that they’d do it eventually.

Fighting the momentum of entire markets and hoping a muse settles on your shoulder isn’t a sustainable business strategy for most companies, let alone very large public companies.


Cloud for Google is like Internet for Microsoft - was in great position to take advantage of and entirely missed.

There was a hard pivot in TechInfra when Cloud became a priority. And there is a business reason for it - if was estimated that with other cloud providers growing and consolidating Google will cease to be hardware buyer #1 and thus will not get best hardware discounts, affecting profitability of Ads/Search. So there was no choice but to get serious about cloud.

As for dropping prices, nothing will happen - clouds already run on relatively small, albeit oligopolic margins. If one provider reduces price, other providers will follow, with a bit less profit for everyone. This happens from time to time.


>>Robot butlers

This is actually pretty cool. The butler part makes it sound silly but if you were able to pull it off it would mean that we have reached a technological breakthrough. It would be very close to a technological singularity.


Speaking as someone who was the caregiver for both my parents as they aged, good lord would it have been wonderful if I could have been able to offload some of those tasks to a 'bot while I enjoyed the remaining time I had with my folks.


forgive me for asking, but why not hire a caretaker/nurse?


Those are expensive. And their presence compromises your family's privacy.


Exactly. We were already hemorrhaging money, and skilled nursing care for even a few hours a week is incredibly expensive. Not to mention you now have a stranger in your home, and without going in to details, we caught some very unsavory behavior via IP Camera with one of the caregivers we'd hired early on.

It's just an incredibly stressful time in a family's life, no matter how you cut it.


Robot butler != skilled nursing care, though.


Who made the claim otherwise?

A butler to handle taking out the trash, cleaning the house, cleaning after your parents while you did the other tasks is already s big help.


I'm afraid having Google's robot butlers around all the time wouldn't do wonders for privacy either.


Better than an actual person though, at least for now.


Is it? The privacy effects of a person are fairly localised, while the effects of having a spying, data collection machine are potentially unbounded.


Are we saying Google's robot butlers won't work without an internet connection? That would severely diminish their value.


Knowing Google, they probably will work, for some definition of work. However, you'll get a lot of extremely convenient online-only features around which an ecosystem will be built, such that ever more people start turning it on and it stops being controversial. They'll also instruct you to connect them to the internet during the initial setup procedure.

At first they'll promise they won't collect a lot of data and you'll always be able to opt out. However, increasingly more data will start getting collected, you'll start having a hard time finding the option to opt out and even if you manage to do it, the UI will progressively get more deceptive and annoying at trying to get you to turn it back on.

Next thing you know, almost everyone has them connected, you're a weirdo if you don't and Google is even more powerful than before.


Glass was interesting product that died on the hands of outrage journalists.

It's possible they Google release another version when technology will be ready (better battery, camera, sound packed into much smaller form & size)


I don't think that's true. Glass died because nobody could think of anything to do with it. Talk about "glassholes" dominated the conversation because there was no other subject to discuss. The explorer program was supposed to let people come up with cool ideas for applications and nobody ever did.

This is broadly true of wearables so far: nobody has come up with a use case for them more compelling than, "shave a few seconds off checking notifications on your phone."


Also Waymo, which seems promising.


one of the reasons I own google/alphabet stock.





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