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September 27, 2017

Happy birthday Google: what will the company be doing in its final teenage year?

The search giant of the internet, Google, is celebrating its 19th birthday today.

It’s choosing to celebrate the momentous occasion with an adorable Google doodle filled with games and fun nuggets about the work its been doing over the past decades.

How else will the company be commemorating its final teenage year?

Here are some of the new projects we could see over the next 12 months.

Google Pixel 2

The last major smartphone release of 2017 is going to be a big one. The Google Pixel 2 is the follow up to last year’s Pixel, the latest attempt by the company to get into the smartphone market.

The new phone will be unveiled at an event on 4 October  So far, rumours are saying that the new device will only have a single-lens camera, unlike the dual-lens we’ve seen on Samsung and Apple’s latest products.

As well, it will have a squeeze feature on the sides of the device to launch the Google Assistant.

This is arguably the best of all the smartphone artificial intelligent (AI) assistants. Mainly due to the fact it’s backed up by Google’s massive data hordes.

In addition, the prices are set to be lower than the sky-high fees Apple wants its customers to pay for its new iPhone X smartphone. Starting from £480, this will appeal to Android customers, who want a top notch phone but for under £700.

More smartphones

After weeks of rumours, it was confirmed last week that Google is buying HTC’s smartphone division for $1.1bn.

Google’s senior vice president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, said:

HTC has been a longtime partner of Google and has created some of the most beautiful, premium devices on the market. We’re excited and can’t wait to welcome members of the HTC team who will be joining Google to fuel further innovation and future product development in consumer hardware.

The acquisition brings together the creation of Google’s hardware and software sides of the mobile business, as HTC has been the company to build the Google Pixel.

It’ll be interesting to see how this partnership works. Will it lead to more smartphones? Different devices? We’ll have to wait and see.

3. Google Home… show?

Something interesting happened this week in the world of intelligent speakers. Google has reportedly pulled YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show.

Amazon said in a statement:

As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for the decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.”

Google responded by saying:

Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.

It’s not secret that Google has been playing catch up to Amazon with its Home speaker competing against the almost-ubiquitous Echo. Maybe Google has pulled YouTube from the Echo Show in order to make its own version?

At the October event, its rumoured the company will be releasing a mini-Home version, similar to the Amazon Echo Dot, so the idea of a Google Home “Show” isn’t that far from reality.

4. Deal with the regulators

Google’s plans for its early years were to dominate the internet. One way it did this was with its comparison shopping service. Earlier this year, it received a $2.7bn fine from the European Commission as a result.

The company was ordered to change its practices. It looks like the mature 19-year-old Google will be working on this.

It is reportedly spinning off the shopping service into a standalone unit. This service will “operate separately and use its own revenues to bid for ads” on Google according to Bloomberg.

The EU commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager, said she would start investigating if the new Google offer doesn’t work and if companies continue to complain about its behaviour.

The company could also be served with other fines relating to its Android operating software and its AdSense platform from the EU – so except to see more Google vs. the regulators battles over the next year.

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