Google’s greatest worry in 2020 isn’t what you’d expect

Goodness gracious, Google sure is going through an awful lot of grumbling these days. From internal unrest to external detest, the start of 2020 is anything but calm for the company behind our favorite mobile operating system.

But hefty as those most frequently highlighted hurdles may be, there’s another looming threat that’s even grander for Google to get over — one that represents a serious challenge to its core business and the primary principles that allow it to thrive.

I won’t draw it out any longer: The threat is Amazon. While other companies have traditionally been painted as being Google’s primary competition — Microsoft on the productivity front, Apple or maybe even Samsung on the mobile end, and Facebook or any number of messaging apps from a social, news, and general time-spent-online perspective — Amazon, above any other entity, has the power and reach to drive a spear straight into the center of Google’s heart. And as 2020 gets going, that possibility seems more pressing than ever.

Sound like an overly dramatic proclamation? Maybe. But when you really start to think through some of the areas where Amazon’s shadow is showing up on Google’s horizon, it’s hard to deny there’s something to it — something that’s bound to become even more significant as the months move on.

Think through this with me, and you’ll see what I mean.

Smart assistants, fight!

First: We’ve talked endlessly about how we’ve entered a post-OS era, where what operating system you’re using is less consequential to a company than what digital assistant you rely on. And it’s no wonder: Once you’re tapped into a particular assistant ecosystem — Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, or whatever the case may be — you tend to rely on that service for an ever-increasing amount of information seeking.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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