Tech giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) unveiled a number of upgrades to its existing products this week. Many observers may have been disappointed — there was no new version of Android, no successor to the Nexus 7.
Still, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) made a number of announcements that were otherwise significant. Although more subtle than a major product unveiling, Google’s enhancements to its existing products should concern the company’s competitors.
Google Now is coming to the desktop
Not everyone is convinced that Google’s Android operating system is superior to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS — but most agree that the company’s personal assistant, Google Now, is better than Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Siri.
Google made two major announcements concerning Google Now. First, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Now has been upgraded to set location-based reminders (“Remind me to take out the trash when I get home.”). Secondly, Google Now will be coming to the desktop.
Further, to use Google Now on the desktop, users will need the Chrome web browser.
Google has had a stranglehold on desktop search for years, while Chrome has steadily risen in popularity. The incorporation of Google Now should only strengthen both — encouraging Google Now users to switch to Chrome (if they haven’t already), while at the same time, making Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s desktop search that much more compelling.
That could be bad for
, which has spent billions developing and advertising its Bing search engine.
Microsoft has also tried to revitalize Internet Explorer, shipping the re-invented, touch-optimized, IE 10 with Windows 8.
Of course, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is a monstrous technology giant, and the incorporation of Google Now to Google search hardly makes Microsoft’s stock a sell. But it does make the gap between Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google just that much bigger when it comes to search.
All Access is Google’s streaming music service
Google launched All Access on Wednesday, the company’s streaming music service. For a fee of $10 per month ($8 for early adopters), users get access to catalog of millions of songs that they can stream to their PCs or mobile devices.
At first glance, Google isn’t doing anything revolutionary here — other services like Spotify and Rhapsody already offer the same service (and Spotify has a free option — something Google is lacking).
But, by bringing All Access to market, Google has introduced yet another competitor to Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P). Shares of Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) have periodically sold off in the past on rumors that Apple would soon enter the streaming music business — but rumors of Google’s entrance have had little effect on the stock.