Google

Alphabet Tracker: Too Many Messengers?

The new year has been good to Google’s parent company, as stock prices have risen by over 6 percent since the ball dropped, from $792.45 on Dec. 30, 2016, to close at $844.43 on Jan. 23.

At the time of writing, Alphabet’s market cap sat at just over $589.2 billion, and the day’s trading was up $6.73 (0.80 percent) from the previous close to $851.16. The price hit $851.52 earlier in the day, an all-time high for Alphabet, which comes just a few days before the company’s fourth quarter earnings are set to be released.

While nothing is ever 100 percent certain, some are suggesting that the future looks bright for Alphabet’s value. A look around at investor and analyst sentiment suggests that many expect the company’s stock to be worth $1,000 or more per share by or before the end of 2017. PYMNTS will report on the specifics once the Q4 earnings are released.

Alphabet hasn’t slowed down a bit in the days and weeks before its earnings release.

Last week, Alphabet’s smart home brand, Nest, announced the launch of its line of products — like smoke and CO detectors, surveillance cameras and thermostats — in four new European markets. While Nest’s hardware, software and services had only been made officially available in seven countries prior to this recent launch, the company said that Nest products are used in upwards of 190 countries worldwide.

Lionel Paillet, general manager of Europe for Nest, said in a statement: “There’s clearly organic interest in the benefits our products offer, and with our expansion into Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain, we’re doubling our footprint in Europe and allowing our customers — including thousands of existing customers — to enjoy Nest products in their local languages.”

Pre-orders began on Jan. 16 with a targeted delivery date in mid-February, the company said. No word has been given on the anticipated release dates for future expansions to other world regions.

Also last week, Google bought up Fabric, a Twitter-owned business that creates software toolkits for mobile app developers, for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, Google will also reportedly acquire Twitter’s software failure tracking tool Crashlytics.

Word of a deal between Google and Twitter has been circulating since at least September of last year after earlier, failed collaboration attempts. In keeping with the company’s recent focus on its cloud capabilities, Google will absorb the Twitter employees working on Fabric, said Bloomberg, and leverage the acquisition to recruit more mobile developers to its cloud computing sector.

Jason Titus, vice president of Google’s Developer Product Group, was quoted as saying: “When we look at Fabric, we see it as a great opportunity to bring together two amazing developer platforms, to really have the best of breeds.”

Other sectors of Google are also seeing some new developments. The company announced on Monday (Jan. 23) of this week that it was releasing major updates and new features for Google Voice over the next few weeks on both the web and mobile apps.

Among the new features the company is rolling out for Voice comes the ability for users to participate in group texts. If you’re getting an eerie feeling of déjà vu, you’re not alone.

As The Wall Street Journal pointed out, Google Voice is now effectively a chat app — or, in Google’s case, another chat app, bringing the total to five. While not every app is available on every device, there is a significant amount of overlap.

Along with Google Voice, there’s Google Hangouts, which can be used across a number of smartphone and desktop operating systems. There’s Google Allo, a text messaging app that also allows users to talk to Google Assistant, and Google Duo, which allows for one-on-one video chats. Both Allo and Duo are available on iOS and Android. Then, there’s Google Messenger — a text-based app for Android phones.

Redundancy doesn’t seem to be part of Google’s typical playbook, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that any of the other messenger apps are going to be phased out. There’s enough competition in the space from Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and others, so it seems odd Google would create this number of apps with use-case overlap.

Perhaps the differences in features, user experience and device functionality between apps will add up to enough to keep all five up and running. In the end, that’s up to consumers to decide.

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