Alphabet Inc is a tech behemoth ruling the online world with Google as its foundation . The restructuring that turned Google into a parent holding company called Alphabet Inc with its many subsidiaries is part of an amazing business story that began just 17 years ago. The company has a history of failed attempts to move into spaces controlled by other tech firms like Facebook – (think Google+). Failures like this aren’t causing the company to rest on its already impressive laurels though. Alphabet continues to push into some potentially huge territories already occupied by others.
It is no longer news that Alphabet has at least one company/moonshot project for each letter of the Alphabet, so it’s certainly living up to its name. Starting from AdSense, to Blogger, to Calico, to Deep Mind, going to Google Car, all the way to YouTube and Project Zero, the firm has a hand in almost every pie in the tech space. Now, latest report indicates that Alphabet might be throwing punches at Apple Inc. , Tesla Motors Inc , and Facebook Inc with some of the products in its lineup.
Tesla Motors might take a punch from Alphabet
It is no longer news that Alphabet and Tesla Motors Inc are in a race to bring self-driving technology to the roads. Alphabet has a fleet of self-driving cars conducting tests on real-world roads to train computers to take the wheel from humans. Tesla Motors also has a degree of autonomous driving tech with the autopilot features that it recently released. However, Alphabet is now going for Tesla’s jugular as it takes the fight from being about self-driving cars to being about electric cars.
A report by IEEE Spectrum holds that Alphabet is now testing a way to recharge the batteries of its self-driving cars without plugging them to a power outlet. Tesla Motors has succeeded in the EV space because it made it easy for buyers of electric cars to charge up their vehicles for everyday use. You can plug up your car overnight and be sure that you’ll have a “full-charge” in the morning. Tesla also has a network of superchargers at stops, restaurants, and hotels where you can get a full charge in about 30 minutes.
Now, Alphabet is testing a technology that charges its self-driving cars by having them roll over a special charging transmitter in the ground. The wireless charging technology uses a resonant magnetic induction system to beam power to the battery under the car. The transmitter will be similar to a manhole cover on the street and driver’s will be able to charge their cars wirelessly while driving instead of being forced to park the car in order to recharge.
Tesla Motors has enjoyed a strong lead over new entrants into the EV space because of its superior battery technology and the strength of its supercharger network. Tesla has a number of sweet deals for the supply of lithium ion for its batteries and the firm is building a Gigafactory to drive down the costs further. New entrants into the EV space have to build better batteries and then, they have a build a superior charging network to dispel the range anxiety of buyers.
Now, Alphabet’s wireless charging solution might reduce the cost of electric cars because the batteries can now be smaller since they won’t need to hold bulk of the charge for a 200-mile trip. In addition, there are hints that Google might not sell its robocars and that it will keep them in a fleet that can be hailed via an Uber-like service. Hence, the firm can easily set up the wireless charging system on the routes that its vehicles will take. Even if Google chooses to sell its self-driving cars, the firm has the financial muscle to install the wireless charging portals on the highways.
Alphabet throws a punch at Apple
Alphabet and Apple Inc. are not always friendly fores especially as both firms slug it out in the mobile OS space in a pitched battle with Apple’s iOS and Google-backed Android OS. Apple Inc. has long hinted about its plan to disrupt the TV and all eyes were on the debut of the Apple TV – the issue however, was that Alphabet has gone to the TV market with a device that might undermine the Apple TV. The Chromecast dongle is not a new device but the tech space is starting to pay attention to how it might be a better solution for streaming content on TV.
Bob Price on Business Insider tech reports that Alphabet’s Chromecast dongle does a good job at undermining the Apple TV in the TV streaming space. Price thinks people who want to spruce up their living rooms should forget about the $159 Apple TV, $343 PlayStation 4, or even $800+ smartTVs. All you need is a Chromecast Dongle that sells for $35 and you “can throw videos and music onto your TV to watch by pressing the Chromecast button on any of the hundreds of compatible apps.”
Facebook is probably unprepared for this blow
Facebook has built a strong brand recognition in the world of Virtual Reality as its Oculus Rift brand continues to dominate the headlines in the VR space. However, Facebook’s reign in the VR market might be nearing an end as the Alphabet makes a stronger push in the VR space. The Verge reports that Google has plans to release a virtual reality product this year to rival Gear VR from Samsung and Oculus from Facebook.
It has been more than 18 months since Google released its Google Cardboard VR kit that turns your smartphone into a VR device. In the last couple of months, the firm has gone on a hiring spree to attract talents into positions on its VR team. Now, the upcoming VR device will come with better lenses and better sensors to take some of the heavy lifting of creating a VR experience off your smartphone.
It was also reported that the new VR headset might debut Google’s rumored Android VR operating system. The Android VR operating system is one of the few roadblocks left in the way of the widespread adoption of VR devices. The Android VR OS will make it easy for developers to create apps for virtual reality and push for a widespread adoption of VR.
Is Alphabet becoming a jack-of-all-trades?
Alphabet began its story with its core ad business that cuts across Search, YouTube, Gmail, Android, and Adsense among other things. Later on, the firm started trying its hands on different projects called moonshots in the hopes of laying hands on the next multibillion-dollar idea. The firm has done a decent job in making its moonshots accountable and it has started to separate the finances of its core search business from the financials of its other “bets”.
Driverless cars that can charge wirelessly, a cheap device that spruces up the living room, and a device that takes us to the next stage in Virtual reality all sounds great, but there’s probably a countless number of other products that never saw the light of day. Alphabet has turned itself into a conglomerate with a hand in many pies; however, the firm needs to ensure that it balances its quest for growth with decent ROI from its moonshots.