Google Just Challenged Apple and Amazon on Multiple Fronts

Google's conference saw the company creating even more competitive services.

Jun 29, 2014 at 5:31PM

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) recent I/O conference saw the company expand into new areas and it  released a slew of updates for traditional products, particularly Android software. The I/O conference is an important tool in creating the necessary buzz, and this year Google was quick to draw lines in the sand. This is good news for the continuing vitality of Google, but it also pits the company more directly against its rivals, particularly Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Health for the masses
Look out, Apple: This was a frequent message at the Google conference, which set the two companies even more at odds. Google Fit , in particular, is a new platform designed for use in a number of different fitness wearables, allowing people to unify their workout data in more innovative ways. If this sounds familiar, that's because Apple announced an identical service at its own conference this year, called HealthKit. Google is working with Adidas, Nike, and RunKeeper, while Apple has announced partnerships  with Mayo Clinic, Epic, FitBit, iHealth, Wahoo Fitness, and Nike (who appears to be working with both sides).

Apple stock moved from above $92 to around $91 in the aftermath of the Google conference, but investors do not seem that dismayed. On the contrary, some are looking forward to the expected September release of the iPhone 6  to give the stock a new boost. However, if Apple is preparing to make HealthKit an integral part of its latest hardware, be aware that it will have some serious competition on that front.

Moving ahead with car tech
One of the Android updates Google provided was Android Auto , a platform for car tech with a focus on voice controls, messaging, and Android apps. Spotify and Songza were both mentioned as current partners, and apps like Google Maps were given extra attention. Again, if this sounds familiar, that's because Apple recently announced its own version of the same product, called CarPlay , which does similar things with iPhone apps but without the voice commands or full operating system support.

In other words, if Apple was hoping to have this market to itself, Google has officially broken the bad news (and Microsoft has released a "Windows in the Car " demo of its own). It will be interesting to see which technology catches on first, and how much it will be influenced by brand preferences. Google's more flexible platform certainly has its advantages. Wired has an interesting piece comparing which companies have partnered with Android Auto vs. CarPlay thus far, and Android seems to have the lion's share.

To the TV
Android TV is trying to do with TVs what Android Auto is attempting with cars -- a new platform that can help users interact with the TV  from other Android devices like smartphones. The company is also including the ability to stream video games and play them via a controller. Google Play will be getting its own Android TV section by the end of 2014, and Google's work in this area may even lead to a new set-top box or next-generation Chromecast.

This brings to mind Amazon's set top box, Fire TV, which also includes a focus on games and the ability to stream content. Of course, Android TV is just software for now, while Fire TV is actually a media streamer, but they accomplish very similar things -- and Android users do not need to pay extra for the hardware. Remember, Amazon stock has fallen by around 20% this year as too-high valuation fears have been realized. Comparison to Google services could prove another reality check.

Fingers in the pies
While Apple and Amazon stood out as clear rivals after I/O, Google also set its sights on a number of other companies. Dropbox and Microsoft come to mind, with Google's updated version of Google Drive that offers new enterprise packages and features that render other cloud services less necessary. But the important takeaway here is that the tech giant is not afraid to continue its diversification into all areas of the industry. Big or small, tech companies should be ready for Google to start casting a shadow.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Tyler Lacoma has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends, Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of, Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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