The rumors heading into this year’s Google I/O conference forewarned a lack of new hardware, and they turned out to be right. There was no new Nexus phone or tablet or even a new version of Android announced to celebrate the 900 million activated devices to date. Maybe Google felt stung by the failed Nexus Q unveiled during last year’s event, but the dearth of gadgets is more likely due to a strategic shift.
As multiple Google executives echoed during I/O, the company’s true mission is to “get technology out of the way.” Google wants to get technology so far out of your way that you stop caring about the hardware altogether. After all, a gizmo is just a potential point of friction between you and the search giant’s services — and ads. Here are five signs Google may be done with making its own gadgets for good.
One of the most impressive demos during the Google I/O keynote was the new photo capabilities of Google . While the Samsung Galaxy S4 and other smartphones come littered with camera features, Google has migrated many them to its servers. Want that skin to look smoother, an HDR effect after the fact or an “auto-awesome” GIF? As Vic Gundotra, Google senior vice president, put it, “your darkroom is now a Google data center.” In other words, the smartphone is now subservient to the cloud.