Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) wasn’t content with being the world’s dominant search engine, nor was it content with being the global smartphone leader. The company is now pushing out a service application called “Google Now,” which could frighten users with how convenient it can make coordinating their own lives. Google Now can be set to use personal information, GPS coordinates, search history, and email history to build a complex quick-view of almost anything going on in the user’s life so that the user can quickly manage and remember those things — sort of a high-tech Rolodex, planner, and compass, all in one. The app’s use of personal information is being met with two types of reactions: excitement at its convenience, or concern at its Big Brother-like tendencies.
CHEAT SHEET Analysis: How’s one new app going to affect Google’s shares?
One of the core components of our CHEAT SHEET Investing Framework focuses on catalysts that will move a company’s stock. While one new app from Google may not shift the stock significantly, what the application represents may be a hint toward the future of the company and mobile industry as a whole.
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Looking at a combination of the Google Now app and augmented-reality projects like Project Glass and Google Goggles — not to mention the expected development of Google’s own X-phone device — it appears Google is shaping up to lead the tech world into the next era of mobile devices, where simply being smart is not enough, but rather devices will have to be aware of everything going on in and around a user’s life. If the market follows Google, it could put the company in the lead for the next hot new technology, which could supersede the smartphone.
Churning out devices and services are risky ventures, as Google is likely forking out a good bit of capital to invest in these projects. They could drag on Google’s shares in the short term, but the potential for returns on the investment is incalculable — if Google can wield its massive influence and guide the world into its vision of the future for mobile devices, the company could gain the sort of advantage in a new market that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) did when it introduced the first iPad, taking tablets to a place they’d never been before and giving birth to a new multi-billion dollar industry.