The mystery of Google’s missed Pixel opportunity
I’ve been thinking a lot about Pixel mobile phones lately. Also it seems safe to state the reason for my present contemplation is really a teensy bit unusual.
The burning question in Android Land as of this particular moment, y’see, is excatly why Google is apparently getting ready to launch a fresh Pixel phone that seems shockingly much like among its previous -generation Pixel models – which itself existed in a strange in-between position, without obvious reason behind its presence in last year’s quirky lineup . (Oof. My head hurts.)
That, however, isn’t the question we’re here to take into account today. Until Google releases that device actually, we don’t necessarily know the entire picture of what it entails, and all we are able to do is speculate.
Today, the puzzler I wish to ponder is really a bigger-picture question concerning the Pixel line’s existence and how Google is – or possibly isn’t – positioning the telephone for success.
Within my just-launched Pixel Academy e-course , I am leading folks on a deep-dive journey to explore a few of the most useful – and, oftentimes, unique – possibilities presented by Google’s Pixel phones. Even though chatting with a number of the smart and attractive land-mammals who’ve registered to discover the hidden secrets of these pocket-sized Pixel pals, I am reminded of something: Google does indeed a mind-bogglingly bad job of publicizing the Pixel’s strengths.
Now, I’m not discussing the higher-level Pixel advantages, just like the phone’s exceptional user experience or its peerless level of post-sales software support. Those are essential qualities critically, without a doubt, however they aren’t exactly perks which are an easy task to articulate to the phone-buying masses. They’re fairly abstract, technical somewhat, and not the types of things it is possible to placard on a billboard and use to seize the attention of the average tech-seeking Homo sapien (and/or platypus).
But you know very well what forms of perks are an easy task to market? Yep, you guessed it: those that involve specific features made to address common pain points and make your daily life just a little easier. (Man, you’re good!) And that is particularly true when those perks revolve around futuristic-sounding Google smarts – smarts no other company may also come near matching.
Those will be the features that set the Pixel apart in meaningful, practical, and enticing ways - yet impossibly, Google does nothing to market those types of possibilities practically. Not only may be the general phone-buying public unacquainted with their existence woefully, but Pixel owners themselves, as my Academy interactions have reminded me, are positively impressed if they learn what their devices have already been able to do all of this time.
We are able to find numerous examples that match this narrative, but two Assistant-connected systems stick out the most. The first is an attribute that screens calls from private automatically, unknown, or suspected spam numbers and will answer and screen any incoming ask demand also. Google’s silky-voiced virtual helper actually accumulates the telephone and asks the caller what they’re calling about, relays that info for you on your own screen then. It is possible to to ask follow-up questions to obtain extra info even, if you want, before making a decision if you wish to deal with the decision yourself or let Assistant have a message.
After all, really: Who wouldn’t want usage of that?!
The second feature is really a vaguely related system that depends on Assistant to carry for you anytime you’re in the unenviable position of hearing how “important your call is” (and how it will likely be answered, needless to say, in the order it had been received – insert retching sound here). Whenever this type of situation arises, a Pixel phone puts a prompt on the screen offering to dominate the holding for you personally and alert you when an alleged human comes home on the line.
Forkin’ incredible pretty, right? You’d better believe it. And both features work very well impressively, too.
Now riddle me this: How frequently have you seen those features advertised or promoted, whether in a actual Pixel phone or in a few type of external marketing? Unless you’ve been surviving in a dramatically different world from the main one I am wading around lately, the solution probably falls somewhere within “extremely rarely” and “never.”
After all, heck, even on the storefront page where Google explicitly tries to convince visitors to buy Pixel phones, the ongoing company makes zero mention of either of the awe-inspiring elements. Instead, its state of the art point is the proven fact that Pixel phones “come preloaded with all the current Google apps you like.”
Erm, right. That’s why is these to special? That’s what’s gonna convince regular phone-buyin’ folk to leave behind the brilliantly marketed brands they’ve known and trusted for a long time – devices where, actually, said Google apps are also easily available? Really, Google?!
Now imagine if another iPhone was included with these identical features – the A.I.-enabled call hold-for-you and screener technology. Imagine how Apple would market those possibilities. They’d be innovative, groundbreaking, magical and revolutionary , damn it! They’d be life-transforming systems available “only on iPhone” (since when someone pretentiously avoids the usage of articles while discussing their products, you know they need to be important).
Simple and plain, we’d never hear the finish of it. Sufficient reason for Google? Google’s got the products this very minute. And we hear an individual peep about any of it never.
It isn’t just these newer Assistant-connected items of intelligence that match this pattern, either. From pretty much the get-go, Pixel phones experienced an inspired system for working hand-in-hand with Google Photos and automatically clearing out local copies of backed-up media every time a phone’s storage starts to perform low. It is a simple thing, but it’s this type of nice little addition and another perfect exemplory case of a high-impact, hassle-eliminating feature. We’ve all had the frustration of running low on local storage, in the end. And if you utilize Photos for burning your images even, the onus still falls upon one to periodically go in and tidy up the neighborhood copies – unless you possess a Pixel, in which particular case, Google services could work together in handle and harmony everything for you without the ongoing effort.
That’s the initial item in day 5 of my Pixel Academy e-course. And do you know what? It’s among things I’ve heard probably the most reactions about – reactions from individuals who own Pixels and had no idea it had been present or possible.
And most of that’s to state nothing concerning the equally underplayed notion of Pixels and privacy – an almost ironic-seeming advantage, taking into consideration the endless questions surrounding the main topic of Google and privacy nowadays, but a location where Google could seriously set its phones in addition to the invasive ad-injecting , shady data-selling setups its Android-embracing partners provide without most folks even realizing it.
Marketing hasn’t been Google’s strength, to place it mildly. But once we gear up for the Pixel line’s sixth generation of devices – a generation that’s likely to be considered a real turning point for the merchandise, with the first-ever Google-made processor and all the intriguing possibilities which could enable – it’s hard never to wonder the way the company continues to skip the mark so badly on emphasizing the Pixel’s most outwardly impressive advantages. And it’s really hard never to wonder how different the sales picture could possibly be if it ever determined how exactly to present its products in a manner that actually resonated on a big scale.
Google’s got the products. Now it’s gotta work out how to let people find out about ’em rather than hiding ’em away as Android’s best-kept & most mystifying secret.
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