If you ever had any doubts that we’re moving from an era of technology markets to technology ecosystems, Google’s latest news should quash them.
Google is quietly creating a branded entertainment hardware system that will wirelessly stream entertainment content throughout the home, the Wall Street Journal reported. In so doing, Google is taking a page from Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and a coterie of others who hope to control the flow of digital content.
Once you’re in Google’s ecosystem, you’ll presumably be able to stream or download any movies, TV shows, books and games you’ve bought from Google or stored on its servers.
Not surprisingly, Google’s also reportedly close to launching a cloud service that will allow you to sync your content across multiple devices, competing directly with Apple and Silicon Valley startup Dropbox.
The interesting question is how open Google’s ecosystem will be.
To date, it's kept the barriers to entry to its Android platform low — compared to Apple and Amazon, which take a piece of everything that flows through their hardware.
Google differs from Apple and Amazon in one key respect: most of its revenue comes from search. So it has an incentive to give away content for free or very little, as long as it gets to insert its ads.
Google does have one other massive competitor with a closed ecosystem who makes most of its money from ads: Facebook.
Can a Facebook entertainment device be far behind?