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Google's earning call offers 5 hints on the future

Ian Paul | Jan. 24, 2013
Future products from Motorola was just one of the topics discussed during the earnings call.

Regardless, Arora sees a bright future ahead for YouTube stars and said that "thousands of [YouTube] channels are now making six figures annually."

Android infotainment

Car companies including Renault and Saab have tried their hand at creating an in-car infotainment system based on Android. But Google has yet to come up with a version of Android designed to run apps from your car's dashboard. CEO Larry Page gave a slight hint about when you might expect an official infotainment system from Google. Page's statement will be disappointing for Android fans in the short term, but fairly exciting overall.

"Android won't be used in cars probably before we get automated cars into the mainstream," Page said, referring to Google's driverless car initiative. In other words, Google doesn't look set to come out with an Android car kit anytime soon.

Page also expounded a bit on Google's hands-free driving experience and what the future holds for the real-world successors to make-believe cars such as Kitt and Herbie the Love Bug. Google's chief executive said the company was looking, in the long term, at using automated cars as a way to reduce parking requirements at the Google campus. And, at some point, maybe even the rest of the world. As a former resident of New York City who only moved his car on street sweeping days and to leave town, ending the need for parking is an idea I can get behind.

Beyond the blue links

I've probably referred to Google as "the search giant" more times than I can count, but I may soon have to change that reference to "the knowledge giant." It's been said many times that Google's self-declared mission is to organize the world's information and make it useful. But Page emphasized just how far Google is trying to push its search product beyond entering keywords and a results page filled with little blue links.

In 2012, the company rolled out its Knowledge Graph product that displays a condensed data summary of what it thinks you're looking for on the right-hand side of the results page. So if you search for inventor Nicola Tesla, you get his brief bio, published works, and a list of similarly famous scientists. If you search for The New York Yankees, you get a brief description of the team, its World Series championship years, nicknames and current roster.

In 2012, Google also introduced Google Now for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean devices and up. Google Now is a predictive service that tries to automatically deliver information to you based on your GPS location, and data from your Gmail inbox, Google calendar, and Web search history. If you are traveling from Seattle to New York via Houston, for example, Google Now may display your flight times, and the weather forecast for each of your destinations.

 

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