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Google made several large announcements at the annual Mobile World Congress trade event in Barcelona, Spain. According to Vice President of products, Sundar Pichai, the tech giant is experimenting with wireless capabilities that could include becoming a ‘mobile virtual network operator’. Google already has fiber-optic capabilities in some specific geographic markets which would be the first to launch the new wireless service.
Google maintains that they are not looking to become a full-scale carrier. Rather, they are interested in partnering with carriers to offer a pure Android experience for Nexus device users. If Google were to partner with carriers, it would most likely be smaller carriers including T-Mobile and/or Sprint.
Gartner analyst Bill Menezes noted in a CNet article yesterday, “I’d hope Google experiments with additional service models besides the default carrier plans where the user – either prepaid or postpaid – has to buy a set service allotment every month.”
Pichai also noted that Project Titan, which will send “floating cell towers” (also known as drones) into the sky in order to supplement connectivity in areas of need such as a disaster area. This project began mid-2014 when Google acquired the drone making company, Titan Aerospace, after rumors spread that Facebook had made a bid.
Ahead of Mobile World, Pichai mentioned some changes coming to the somewhat estranged social network Google+. In an interview with Forbes, he hinted at the idea that Photos and Hangouts could be separated from the main product. “I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications, photos and the Google+ Stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area,” he told Forbes. Yesterday the social media sphere lit up over personnel changes at Google+. Specifically, it was noted and later confirmed that Bradley Horowitz is now running Google+. Many assume this shift will lead to a separation of the parts of Google+ in some way.
The announcements at Mobile World are indicators of a new direction for Google. While they have enjoyed domination in some markets, others have been evasive for the giant company. It will be interesting to watch Google’s evolution in mobile, connectivity and social as they will surely help to shape these industries.