New year, new Google: these are the news that the search engine prepares for 2021
Experts expect the US big-tech to continue recovering in 2021 and analyze which technologies will be essential for their businesses
2020 was not an easy year for anyone, and not for Google either. Like the rest of the companies, she had to adapt to the remote work system, but in addition, she ended the year with three court cases accusing her of monopolistic practices.
But not everything was bad, but in these months its shares broke the barrier of a billion dollars of capitalization in January, becoming the third company to do so after Apple and Microsoft.
He also collaborated with Apple on a contact tracing technology to curb COVID-19, gave a big boost to the e-commerce boom, signed some big-name hires for the Cloud division, and eventually got EU approval for the purchase from Fitbit.
Looking ahead to 2021, analysts expect the company to continue to recover even more and anticipate what will be the 5 key points that will drive its strategy.
1. Boosting key businesses in the “post covid” era
In the second quarter of 2020, Google reported the first drop in its year-on-year revenue. The 2% decline wasn’t as bad as some analysts feared, but it underscored Google’s exposure points to the pandemic, including travel and hospitality.
In the third quarter, the results were better: the increase in revenue of 14% exceeded expectations and caused a rise in shares. Against this, analysts are optimistic and believe that Google will continue to experience a strong recovery in the first half of 2021, as the “weak points” of Covid, such as retail and travel, begin to recover.
“Large customers of Google (“ trips, the sale by online retail, hospitality, real estate “) are more likely to improve their fundamentals in the next 6–9 months, which should definitely be a direct benefit to Google “ MKM Partners analyst Rohit Kulkarni tells Business Insider.
In a note published in December, Bank of America analysts called Google the “best option for recovery from vaccines” than Facebook, as areas such as travel are on the mend.
Maps are the Google product that Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik will watch especially closely in 2021.
2. A “surprise” on Google Maps
While the growth of YouTube and Cloud is giving investors reason to be excited, Maps is the Google product that Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik will be especially closely watching in 2021. “I’m not sure they can surprise us on YouTube. But they could surprise us on Maps, “ he says.
“I’ve always seen this program as the most underrated app out there because it’s always on everyone’s home screen,” says Shmulik, adding, “I think we‘re really looking forward to using it again when we get back out there. Finding an area where they can surprise us, and consumer behavior is going to be there, Maps seems very interesting to me. “
Schmulik highlights the recently revamped Google Pay as an example of what he calls a “super-app,” turning what was once a simple payments app into a comprehensive financial platform that will soon offer banking services.
Google could also make Maps into a “super-app” says Shmulik, with enormous potential to drive more aggressive revenue streams existing advertising, as long as other features are introduced, taking advantage of a world returns to normal in 2021.
3. Greater investment in smartphones and virtual reality
Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi says that Pichai’s announcement suggests “ more Pixel “ (the name by which Google has been identifying its phones and tablets). “I hope it is a real turnaround both from a design point of view and better positioning in the high-end range, as this year has seemed less competitive than it could have been.
Analysts are interested to see in which other categories Google becomes more optimistic in the new year. With Apple and others preparing to enter the virtual and augmented reality space, 2021 may be the year Google tries again, Milanesi says.
“While Google has been playing with augmented reality from a search perspective, we haven’t seen any hardware,” he tells Business Insider. “If the rumors about Apple are correct, Google will have to have something this year as the link with the content of games and entertainment is starting to get more interesting.
The Pixel 5 line of smartphones was launched in October 2020.
4. Cautious progress in e-commerce
Former PayPal COO Bill Ready joined Google early last year to lead its business efforts. Under his leadership, the company changed its policy to allow sellers to post their products online for free during the pandemic.
Nonetheless, analysts expect Google to move cautiously as it tries to grow in commerce and other potentially fertile areas like travel. One of the three recent antitrust lawsuits, filed by 38 states and territories, alleges that Google hurts its competitors by favoring its own products in searches over rivals. This review will likely put a damper on Google’s plans to advance in these areas, says Schmulik.
“I think a lot of those things are going to be very, very slow in development,” he says. “They are going to be very careful not to move fast and not to screw things up.”
5. Strong bet on health
Dr. Bob Kocher, a partner at Venrock, said he expects Alphabet — Google’s parent company — to secure health deals related to its cloud services in 2021. “They will buy companies that generate a lot of data and that need the cloud,” he says. “Things like voice transcription companies or hospital data analytics companies. It won’t be about consumer products.”
Speaking of health, Creative Strategies’ Milanesi hopes Google will reveal more about its intentions regarding fitness tracker maker Fitbit, now that the acquisition deal is nearly closed.
“It is also time that we look at what Google plans to do with the acquisition of Fitbit, as this segment will continue to expand, not only from a computer accessories point of view but also from a health perspective, such as for example, the Oura ring (used for the) COVID “.
MKM’s Kulkarni also highlights the work that Alphabet’s science company Verily is doing during the pandemic. Earlier this year, Verily launched a COVID-19 screening and testing service and recently announced that it has secured $ 700 million in external investments, some of which will go toward COVID-19 vaccine studies. “I think they are providing significant value,” Kulkarni says.