Google is popping up on my news radar more than usual lately, and I consider this a good thing. Google is one of my favorite companies, even if they could learn a thing or two about design from Apple. Fortunately, some of the recent news about Google seems like they are moving in that direction – Sparrow – while other news about Google indicates they are drawing an entirely new map – Google Fiber. Let’s discuss these briefly.
Sparrow: Time to Freshen up Gmail?
A couple weeks ago, Google acquired an app company called Sparrow. Sparrow’s flagship product is an email client that brings all your IMAP and POP accounts together under one roof. I still rely on my web-based Gmail for all my emailing activities, but I checked out some screenshots of Sparrow on the Mac App store; it looks nice. Simple, clean, very Apple’esque, and from what I’ve read it’s also very powerful. Almost 2500 top reviews, before Google acquired it (people are unhappy they spent money on a now discontinued product). Boo hoo….
Digging into the story further, rumors whisper a tale of Google using Sparrow’s talented dev team to add some much needed polish to Gmail. Whether that will result in a redesigned web-based experience, native Mac and iOS applications, new Android apps or all of the above remains to be seen. However, one thing is for sure: for an estimated $25 million bucks, Google didn’t recruit Sparrow talent so they could go work on their limbo skills in the Caribbean. We can expect to see some Gmail changes in the future.
Google Fiber: Redefining Home Entertainment As We Know It
In other news, Google has taken a step into the media broadcasting industry by launching Google Fiber. Google Fiber is an all-in-one home connectivity service that offers cable television and 1gb/second Internet speeds. I remember when T1 Internet was a big deal at a modest 1.5mbs. Today, Google Fiber is about 680 times faster than that – impressive to say the least.
What’s really astonishing about Google Fiber is that the basic plan is free. Well, you do have to pay one-time installation costs, but after that it’s free. $70/month gets you gigabyte Internet and $120/month gets you gigabyte Internet plus a TV setup like you’ve never seen. Control your television through a Nexus tablet (*cough app opportunities abounding*), and record up to 8 programs at the same time onto your terabyte DVR box. Wow! Click on Google Fiber Pricing Plans for more info.
Right now Google Fiber is only available in Kansas, but you can rally your neighbors to pre-register for Google Fiber (bump up your city on the transplant list). Please sign my neighborhood up. Charter Internet makes me want to pull my hair out!
Putting It Together
So Google has been busy acquiring a killer email development team, and offering the fastest Internet the world has ever seen. The progress over at Google should be very exciting news for you app developers out there. The Sparrow acquisition is another success story if you’re hoping that your app launches you into another universe, and Google Fiber is breaking down bandwidth limits. Couple 1gbs home Internet with 4G LTE wireless Internet connections, and the sky is the limit with what you can do with an app. How will you leverage the changes?