Predictions for 2018: The future of Google

Business

30 Dec 2017

What is Google planning for 2018? Here are top predictions!

The year 2017 has been pretty lukewarm for Google. It launched several new products/services this year, including Pixel 2 smartphones, Pixelbook, smart speakers, etc. But, most of them lacked innovation.

In 2018, however, it's expected to further expand its hardware and services portfolio.

From self-driving cars to high-end Android devices to improved YouTube services and AI offerings, here's what Google might have in store.

Product Launches

Google could launch numerous electronic gadgets next year, too

Google could launch numerous electronic gadgets next year, too

This year, Google unveiled a range of exciting products at its annual hardware show in October that set the bar high for next year.

More consumer electronics like Android smartphones, tablets, Pixelbooks, smart home speakers, Daydream View headsets, etc. could be on their way.

Also, Google's gadgets are user-friendly and much affordable compared to others. 2018 could be another exciting year for Google fans.

Pixel, Android

Radical Pixel phones and bigger Android changes

In 2017, Apple's iPhone X represented the most radical iPhone redesign compared to which Google didn't deliver anything "big" with Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL except hardware improvements.

But, Google may do something bigger for its 2018 Pixel flagships; radical improvements are expected as Google purchased HTC's smartphone arm this year.

Also, Android P might deliver bigger UI changes than Android Oreo.

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Android devices would continue to dominate in 2018

Android phones dominate the global smartphone market with 84.82% share, way ahead of Apple's iPhones. This would continue next year, too, as Android devices are more affordable compared to iPhones. Meanwhile, Apple's 2018 iPhone X is expected to come with a price-tag of over $1,000.

Waymo

Alphabet's Waymo may launch services; partner with automakers

Alphabet's Waymo may launch services; partner with automakers

Earlier in November, reports claimed Alphabet's Waymo was launching completely-driverless robotaxis.

The autonomous car developer is ahead of others in the self-driving-car space. CEO John Krafcik also said their test services would soon begin in Arizona's Phoenix in the US.

Waymo didn't sign any deal for building its systems into other vehicles.

However, top automakers could partner with Waymo for autonomous technology in 2018.

Google to dominate smart home industry

Google is expected to become more serious about dominating the smart home space next year. Its Google Assistant-powered Google Home intelligent speakers may even overtake Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo devices. Also, Assistant has been gaining popularity on third-party devices inching closer to Alexa's lead.

Augmented Reality

A new consumer AR headset or platform

In 2015, while shutting down "Glass Explorer" program for its Google Glass AR (augmented reality) headset, Google said that it would take a second chance on its AR device.

In 2018, it might come up with some consumer AR tech, either another Glass headset or a new AR platform.

Google is already using ARCore platform to bring AR support to Android devices.

YouTube Red

Google to offer improved YouTube streaming services

Google to offer improved YouTube streaming services

YouTube Red streaming service offers ad-free YouTube, offline videos, Google Play Music, and original content.

Red and Play Music have a small user-base of less than 7mn subscribers combined. It could be due to the non-integration of YouTube Music with Red.

But Google might fix this and revamp Red to attract most of regular YouTube's 1.5bn monthly-users, gaining some ground in the streaming space.

Cloud Business

Google to focus on cloud acquisitions

Google Cloud Platform is the third-biggest public cloud platform. However, its revenue is less than the top two platforms, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Google has strong machine learning services, container services, and raw-cloud-computing performance, but it's well behind Amazon.

To close this gap, Google has been looking for M&A deals; more acquisitions by Google in the cloud marketplace could come in 2018.

Growth

Mobile search, YouTube ads, and AdWords businesses

Mobile search, YouTube ads, and AdWords businesses

This year, Google's parent Alphabet posted over 20% growth thanks to Google's strong mobile search and YouTube ads.

Even in 2018, growth is likely to be driven by these businesses along with AdWords search ads, the biggest profit generator.

Google's improving how "search ad" business works; apart from keywords, Google now relies on user data like search history, third-party-site browsing, etc. to target ads.

Share repurchase program

Alphabet is also expected to aggressively buy back stock next year. Its capital returns have been quite low; it doesn't pay any dividend. It has invested only $2.7bn in stock repurchases from Jan-Oct'17. With its shares doing well, Alphabet might intensify its stock repurchase efforts.

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