What business is Google actually in? Benedict Evens thinks he knows – and it’s not "advertising" as most people would answer. Instead, Google is a company which is looking to exploit the potential of machine learning, in the same way that GE was all about taking advantage of the age of electrification:
Hence, one could argue that Nest or self-driving cars (and the next big hardware move that Google does) are not really about understanding ‘information’ in any sense, and certainly not about advertising, but about finding ways to deploy being very good at machine learning and, say, connected systems, just as GE’s business is to be very good at making big complicated precision-engineered pieces of capital equipment. In that sense, Tony Fadell’s vision is very apt – to ‘take unloved things’ and connect them to the software revolution than my new boss Marc Andreessen talks about. If software is eating the world, then much of what is eaten is probably running software that’s at least partly in the cloud (especially if it doesn’t really have a screen), and that can benefit from machine intelligence and big data, and isn’t that what Google does?
This is a brilliant insight, and for me starts to put all of Google’s technology moves into perspective.