Google is one of the largest companies in the world. In fact, Alphabet, Inc. Which is the parent company of Google is the second largest company in the world by market capitalization, only second to Apple, Inc.
Google owns the most used and best search engine in the world. I, personally, have not seen anyone for the past 10 years to use any other search engines (others are bing and yahoo. That’s right, Yahoo has a search engine!). It’s safe to say that Google has a monopolistic power when it comes to google something (I mean searching) and of course, with no surprise, the search engine is the largest source of revenue for Google.
Google also has a lot of utility and productivity apps which are essential to a large number of people. The most notable, in my view, is Gmail. Gmail is the most reliable email and efficient email service in today’s world.
So Google is the best when it comes to searching stuff, handling emails, calendar, notes, watching videos etc. But outside these boundaries, Google’s confusion is pretty strange and is disappointing everyone.
In 2005, Google acquired a small startup called Android, Inc. which was focusing on creating an operating system for mobile phones. In 2008, the first phone with the Android operating system was released which was much inferior to the Apple’s IOS. However, due to the fall of Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile (the predecessor of Windows phone, which is dead by the way), Android became the main and only rival to IOS and since it was open source and was actively maintained by Google, all the phone makers (eventually Blackberry and Nokia) and developers turned to Android, making the most commonly used mobile operating system. Although Google has actively maintained and took Android forward from the time of its release, their lack of focus on some areas has kept people wondering. For example, Android was not optimized for tablets for years and even now, the Android running on tablets do not behave the way they should which resulted in unpopularity of Android tablets and Ipad ruling the market. The dominance of Ipad over the tablet market is so strong that many people call every tablet collectively as Ipad.
Then, in 2009, Google announced a project which later in 2011, were introduced as Chrome OS, an operating system for the laptops (which will be called "Chromebook" if run Chrome OS). Chrome OS was basically a laptop with a Chrome browser with all of the user’s data resting on the cloud. Later, Google allowed developers to create native apps for the Chrome OS. But the concept was not changed. Chromebooks were cheap laptops which could do whatever you can do over the internet. After all, you wouldn’t need an expensive MacBook to watch Youtube or write emails.
But then, Google started to show everyone that it is confused about the future of its operating systems. Google started to become the company of unfinished projects (some of which were actually released!).
In 2014, while Android tablets were not yet perfectly optimized, Chrome OS gained the ability to run Android apps. Obviously, Android apps were not that smooth or optimized on Chromebooks. Of course, it would be great if your laptop can also run millions of apps in the Google play store. But it would be great if they work well.
In 2015, Google introduced pixel C tablet. It was a beautiful device which worked rather well but didn’t perform well in the market, especially considering its $599 price tag. Of course, Google hoped that the pixel C would be a household name like the iPad, but it didn't. It was expensive, it wasn't launched in many countries and people simply didn't sell their iPads to buy a pixel C.
A year later, Google introduced Google pixel, the phone by Google with one of the best cameras out there. It was a well-received phone and everything was good. In that year, no tablet was introduced and pixel C was still at the full price.
In 2017, Google introduced the Pixelbook, a 2-in-1 device, a laptop which can be folded into a tablet. This device, in my opinion, is the symbol of confusion in Google.
First of all, this is a $1,000 device. So we are not talking about a cheap Chromebook to watch YouTube on, we are talking about an expensive and glorious hardware with strange software. The main OS is the Chrome OS and does a good job running that. But then, it can also run Android apps which is a total disaster. There are two versions of many apps. Android apps are not running the way they do on a regular Android tablet with performance and sizing issues. The normal functions of the Pixelbook are sometimes unpredictable when it comes to the pen or Google assistant.
So the first Chromebook by Google turned out to be something that disappointed many users. It seemed like that Google didn't know what to do with two operating system. The company, a few days ago, introduced the ability to run Linux applications of Pixelbooks because Android apps are running extremely well (sarcasm!) while it is working on a third one called Fuchsia, but I’m not that optimistic about the outcome.
Google is confused about the way it should handle tablets and laptops. They don't know if they should merge Android and Chrome OS or keep them as separate entities supporting each other.
The merger of Android and Chrome OS seems like a good idea for the high-end devices even though cheaper devices can still run on vanilla Chrome OS to save costs. However, Google is unable to make up its mind despite releasing $1,000 devices which is neither as good as a laptop and nor a tablet.