April 15, 2015

Google Evolves in Mobile With Phone Service, Smart Wallet, and Google+

An Android phone with an image of the Android robot at the Google+ icon.
Original image from Tech Norms.

By Megan G. 

A shiny new algorithm isn’t the only thing Google has cooked up to stake its claim in this mobile revolution.  Here are some upcoming products that the company has in the works, as well as some tried-and-true projects, which currently support Google’s fight in our constantly evolving world of smartphones, tablets, and, most recently, watches.  

Project Fi Adds Fiber to Google’s Mobile Diet

One of the Google’s most visible spokespeople, Sundar Pichai, announced an interesting tidbit of information at the Mobile World Congress last month. He stated that Google plans to build a small wireless service that would function “like any other carrier” and, until yesterday, that was pretty much all that was known about the project.

In a rumor report from Android Police, a bunch of details were revealed about Google’s imminent carrier service, currently entitled Project Fi.  Why they’re calling it “Fi” is anyone’s guess, but I imagine that the “Fi” would somehow be connected to the successfully burgeoning Google Fiber TV and Internet service.  The two would be connected a la Time Warner Cable’s phone-internet-television bundles.  Of course, this is just speculation, considering other parts of this product have been dubbed “Tycho” and “Nova.”

Here are the [rumored] features of Project Fi that we know as of now:
  1. Multiple lines and shared data from a single account.
  2. Support for data-only devices, like in-car units.
  3. Targeted ads based on call history. 
  4. Easy switching between phones without SIM cards.
  5. Only compatible with Nexus 6 mobile devices.

For full details on this find, I recommend checking out the article from Android Police and this report from Greenbot.  Rumor or not, Google clearly has been putting its resources towards staying relevant in the mobile market.

The Advent of Smart Wallets

Since Starbucks’ company app made it possible for people to pay for coffee with their phones, society has readily jumped on the “Less Cards, More Mobile” trend.  Who doesn’t love more space in their physical wallet while gaining easier access to their digital one?  In the age of digitalization, the shift only makes sense—and Google is moving with the times.   

Google Wallet is Google Inc.’s addition to the mobile payment spectrum and it supports both “merchants and merchant platforms.”  This means that the Wallet connects users’ payments to Android apps such as Dunkin’ Donuts, a merchant of delectable treats, as well as ChowNow, a merchant platform that can, through Google Wallet, connect thousands of small restaurants directly to users.  This extensive reach to large brands and small businesses allows Google to expand upon its own brand while improving the mobile user experience for a growing list of companies.

Google+ is Still Kickin’

According to Pew Research Center, a fair amount of American teenagers still use Google+.  33% of the sample studied by Pew claimed to use the Google social platform, and the same percentage of teens use Twitter!  That’s quite impressive for a platform long thought dead by most news sources.  That being said, a majority of teens still use Facebook over anything else, which is no surprise. 

What does this mean for mobile?  Well, teenagers of the U.S. are attached to their mobile devices, which drive “much of the activity” on social media sites.  The Pew study showed that of the 73% of teenagers who had access to mobile phones, 94% go online at least once a day.  Teens serve as the goldmine for everything mobile, and the fact that Google+ still has some influence in that age group bodes well for our search engine giant.

In addition to these three big components of Google’s mobile strategy, the company has their smart watch Android Wear in development, as well as Android Auto for a hands-free in-car service.  Stay tuned for more mobile strategies from our favorite search engine giant!      

What are your thoughts on Google’s mobile advances?  Let the Tek Team know in the comments!

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