You don’t believe that a refrigerator can blow your mind and restore a sense of childlike wonder to your life? See here. Trust me, this baby wasn’t designed by a consortium. Or an alliance. Or a committee. We had an entire wall of these sent in to our campus for our designers to tear apart and study. It’s not as perfect as iPhone, and certainly Jonny and I have had long discussions of a few glaring flaws in certain aspects of the design. Visible screws, for example. But it’s damn good. It gives you that little gasp when you pull open the door. That feeling of quality under your fingertips. The sense that this is something that is going to last a long time and give you good service and never let you down.
Will Google’s VaporPhone ™ offer the same satisfying experience? Maybe so, if the planets all line up right and they can get software from one place and hardware from another and bring all the pieces together as a committee. And if it’s not too off-putting to have this clusterfuck of vendors loading the thing up with crapware and promoware like a Windows PC and then shoving ads at you all the time. Hey, maybe lightning will strike. Who knows? It’s a big market, and growing fast, and there’s room for everyone.
Just remember one thing. Google’s basic goal in life is to drive the cost of everything in the world to zero — except the one thing Google sells, which is incredibly overpriced advertising with super high margins that are fed by Google’s refusal to share information with partners. Key algorithm for Google, the one that Larry and Sergey should have written dissertations on, boils down to this:
Opacity = profitability.
Maybe there’s some kind of curve or calculus thing where profits go up exponentially in relation to opacity when plotted over time or combined with pious bullshit about “Don’t be evil” or whatever. It’s something that mathlexics like myself can’t understand.
Anyway. What Google sells is ads. That’s their rocket fuel. And not just any old ads, but really annoying, butt-ugly little text ads. That’s the one market they hope will survive even as everything else becomes free. So let that sink in for a second. Think through the implications for Google’s partners and its customers. Imagine the world that Google would create for us if Google could have its way and run the entire planet. Is that a world you want to live in?