The world's most popular search engine is all grown up. With its Motorola Mobility acquisition set to be approved any day now, it's finally ready to "be evil." Sources indicate the company is finally ready to build its own hardware, as opposed to having OEMs build Google-approved mobile devices.
According to the The Wall Street Journal, Google's "developing a home-entertainment system that streams music wirelessly throughout the home and would be marketed under the company's own brand, according to people briefed on the company's plans."
The device is said to have emerged from Google's Android division and will likely stream video as well. As GigaOm's Ryan Lawler points out, the mystery device sounds a lot like a Sonos (although, Sonos doesn't do video). Perhaps it's a direct competitor to Apple's AirPlay.
Ever since Larry Page took over as CEO of Google from Eric Schmidt, the company's become increasingly controversial with what its wanted to be.
While most of its money is still made from advertisements, Google hasn't shied away from letting the public know, it wants to dominate every field. From social networking with Google+ and crazy redesigns for Gmail and Google Reader, Page has shown that he's willing to make drastic changes to position the company to be a more consistent one.
Even with all of the amazing experiments the search giant cooks up in its Google X labs — including self-driving cars and possibly even augmented reality goggles — Google's never built its own hardware.
Buying out Motorola Mobility gives Google access to a library of valuable tech patents to build its own hardware. In a way, Google's always had its eye on the hardware.
Starting with the original Nexus One smartphone, Google tried to control the hardware and the software (even though the device was built by HTC).
Over time it's become clear that the carriers have been able to grab power back from Google. As seen with the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, Google's efforts to have a "stock" Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone fell short with the removal of Google Wallet and added Verizon bloatware apps. That's not a pure Google experience; that's a Verizon experience.
Take tablets — there really hasn't been an Android tablet that's really lit the world on fire, or given Apples iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire a burn.
If Google's smart, it'll take the reigns in its hands, saddle on up, and show the world how a proper smartphone, tablet, or even Google TV HDTV is made.
Entering the hardware game might not have made sense 10 years ago, but it's the right move at the right time now. We're seeing a shift from hardware-only to "ecosystems." Apple and Amazon sell ecosystems — hardware and software that play beautifully together. Even Sony's changing to be more vertically integrated. Google needs to change too, and we can't wait to see what Google's hardware guys bring out.