For once, I haven't read about Google upsetting someone this week, is the company taking it easy in the run up to Spring Break? Instead, there's useful new features in Android updates, a push on Google Wallet and the company is seeing positive corporate signs in a highly competitive market.
The High-Level Stuff First
For enterprises, appearing to be better than your rivals is one way to get the best talent, and with the competition for the best engineers, coders and designers hotting up between the major players, every edge they can get will help.
One useful stat down the "we're better than they are" route that could help the search company is an Appcelerator/IDC survey that sees Google's products as a better place to focus on for developers than Facebook's. Another alternative is to buy the best talent, as Google has done this week with the acquisition of developer Milk, hiring that team's highly-regarded designers.
Plus, in a recent Glassdoor survey, Google heads Facebook for the first time in four years as the better place to work according to its employee satisfaction metric, among others. There's a statistic-packed infographic to take a peek at.
Users don't really care how the magic gets made, as long as it works, and Google is pushing out serveral improvments in the Android world. For a start, Android 4.0 has moved Google Voice's voicemals into the main Phone app, so if you get a message in Voice, it will appear alongside all the other ones, in another small step toward unified communications.
Also this week, Amazon's Android Kindle app got a major upgrade and everyone is celebrating the release of Angry Birds Space — and not doing much work in the process. Interestingly, the hottest mobile game ever, will be late out on Windows Phone, something that suggests a crack in Nokia/Microsoft's armor that not even their collective billions can paper over. A minor weakness for sure, but one both Android and iOS can play on.
However, things aren't all going to plan on the Android 4.0 update front with reports that last year's Nexus S, still a pretty high-spec model, hasn't been updated yet due to delays. With huge numbers of Android devices out there, getting updates is clearly a problem and one that Apple with its handful of models must be thankful it doesn't suffer from.
Remember Your Wallet?
Google Wallet was rolled out last year to some fanfare, but things have been decidedly low-key since. To spur adoption, it looks like Google might spread the wealth with carriers and partners to get things moving before Apple or Microsoft turn up with a more credible NFC or other mobile wallet solution.
The success of NFC services has always been due to user trust and massive availabililty. The common use of app stores and download services have got us used to using our phone to pay for things, so it's now down to getting a sufficient volume of services on the streets and the company that gets the right partnerships running first could well see far better adoption.