As part of our annual Google Ventures CEO Summit, Nest founder and CEO Tony Fadell and I filmed a live Foundation episode in November in front of a few hundred startup founders in the GV portfolio. Tony told stories about his entrepreneurial roots as a kid selling eggs door to door, his experiences at Apple, angel investing and what the future looks like for the connected home.
Tony is a remarkable leader, and the news that Google plans to acquire Nest is a testament that leadership, as well as to his excellent team focus his team.
Tony’s advice on how to stay focused:
I learned the power of ‘no.’ No is really important. Entrepreneurs are told to say ‘yes, yes, more, more.’ To help you focus, to help you really understand what you’re doing, you have to say no a lot. When you say yes to everything, you get distracted. When you say no, you have to get the one thing you’re doing really right.
Kevin Rose is a general partner at Google Ventures. You can watch Kevin’s prior Foundation episode, an interview with Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong, here.
The technology behind Chromecast, Google’s tiny $35 dongle that allows viewers to stream content to their regular TV from a smartphone, tablet or laptop, is also coming to Google TV.
Warren Rehman, a Google employee who works on “secret stuff and Google TV”, said on Google+ yesterday: “I’m still gainfully employed working on Google TV – no it isn’t dead, and yes it will support Cast.”
Chromecast seems like an effortless solution for watching content stored online by high-profile streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. Similar to Apple TV though, Google TV has a much wider range of apps and services built right into the box – no secondary device required – and acts as an intermediary for users’ existing cable or satellite TV hardware. A bit like what Microsoft is planning with the Xbox One.
Chromecast will therefore not replace Google TV. At least not yet. Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP for Android, Chrome and Apps, emphasized how the two would co-exist in an interview with AllThingsD yesterday. He said Google TV would soon “be a full-fledged Android for television” and expected to announce new partners at the CES industry trade show next January.
Bundling Chromecast’s streaming technology into Google TV will make the latter a far more compelling product and also appease existing owners. It likely won’t be enough, however, to make Google TV the breakout success that the technology giant has always dreamed of.
The true test will be if and when Apple launches its much rumored and highly anticipated Apple TV successor. Google will need to be able to offer a solid counter-argument; Chromecast support should be but one part of its marketing artillery.
On the heels of the unveiling of Google’s new Chromecast TV dongle, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company is developing a more feature-rich set-top box that would include a video camera for Hangouts and a motion sensor.
According to the newspaper’s sources, a prototype of the device was showed off behind closed doors at CES earlier this year.
It was clear from Google’s event this week that Chromecast is just one piece in the puzzle to occupy the living room. The company confirmed that the Google TV platform will get support for the Chromecast streaming technology.
Google SVP for Android, Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai told AllThingsD on Wednesday that Google TV is soon to be a “full-fledged Android for television”. He also teased that more partners would be announced at next year’s CES.
The Journal went on to note that it was unsure whether Google has continued work on the set-top box prototype, which was said to have access to Android games and the Google Play Store. At the least, the overwhelming customer response to the Chromecast, which originally came with a generous Netflix promotion that quickly sold out, should help validate the Chrome and Google TV teams’ efforts to augment the TV.
With Microsoft billing its next-generation console as an “all-in-one entertainment system” and Apple tinkering with its Apple TV hobby, Google will find itself up against serious competition next year as it moves forward with Google TV. Still, it’s a trillion-dollar market, so it’s not likely to get too crowded soon.
Headline image credit: iStockphoto
Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, as the New York Times reports. The company builds robots that can walk and run and have names like BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas. Cheetah is said to be able to run faster than Usain Bolt.
The deal is Google’s eighth acquisition in the field, as Andy Rubin, who previously founded the company behind Android and led the operating system’s development until earlier this year, works on a ‘moonshot’ robotics project.
It is speculated that the project may result in warehouse or logistics robots, and the New York Times adds the idea of “elder care” into the mix (Google recently launched a company that will investigate extending human lifespans).
Interestingly, Boston Dynamics has built research robots for the Pentagon, and although Google will honor existing military contracts, the NYT says that the company “did not plan to move toward becoming a military contractor on its own.”
Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots [New York Times]
Google has extended its Street View imagery to the top two viewing decks of the Eiffel Tower for the very first time, giving users a breathtaking view of the Parisian skyline from the famous French monument. The Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument globally – some 7 million people visit and ascend the monument each year – but Google is now opening the iconic structure up to absolutely everyone on the Web. Google employees took the Street View trolley, an image capturing device that looks exactly as you would expect, to both the second and top floors to capture the entire circumference of the viewing decks with all-new 360-degree photographs. The results are breathtaking and still trigger an inevitable sense of awe; it was the highest monument in the world for 40 years, although that title is now held by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – a building which Google has also scaled for its Street View image library.
Read the full story at The Next Web.
Google has begun experimenting with encrypting Google Drive files, a privacy-protective move that could curb attempts by the U.S. and other governments to gain access to users’ stored files. Two sources told CNET that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company is actively testing encryption to armor files on its cloud-based file storage and synchronization service. One source who is familiar with the project said a small percentage of Google Drive files is currently encrypted. The move could differentiate Google from other Silicon Valley companies that have been the subject of ongoing scrutiny after classified National Security Agency slides revealed the existence of government computer software named PRISM. The utility collates data that the companies are required to provide under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – unless, crucially, it’s encrypted and the government doesn’t possess the key.
Read the full story at CNET.
Google topped $1,000 this morning, surging to an all-time high of $1,007.40. It’s now hovering below the benchmark, but still up more than 10 percent. That’s based on third-quarter earnings that showed growth and slightly exceeded expectations.
Most importantly, there were no surprises in the old business: Web advertising, with its new unified-across-all-screens “enhanced campaigns”; and good progress in last era’s big bets – mobile and YouTube (and mobile-and-YouTube).
Google’s business honcho Nikesh Arora noted that mobile ads are: 1) driving conversions (16 percent more than expected for American Apparel, but that’s an extremely anecdotal stat); 2) resulting in phone calls: 40 million calls driven by Google ads per month, double a year ago; and 3) driving in-store traffic (he didn’t even give an anecdotal stat on that).
Meanwhile, Arora said that spending by consumer-packaged goods advertisers on YouTube grew 75 percent in the past two years, and called YouTube “our brand torch-bearer.”
Motorola had more losses – $248 million, compared to $192 million last year – but this was the quarter it launched Moto X, and more devices made with the new Google leadership are expected soon, so it’s not dragging down the whole ship just yet.