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Grumpy tech guy: Google marketing

28 Nov 2016

I love tech. I write about it, I test it, I slavishly follow its many trends. However, If there’s one thing I don’t like about tech, it is this: marketing nonsense that creates confusion for no useful reason.

The culprits this time are Google; they’ve removed the Google Cast name, swapping it back to the original Chromecast one they started with. Why? I’m guessing because the day has a “Y” in it.

Regardless of the fact that most of humanity call these video/audio streaming HDMI dongles Chromecasts, Googles marketing team decided to call them the Google Cast.

This came about when Google broadened the whole Chromecasting thing to include other non-chrome powered hardware.

If you think about it, their decision actually makes sense - it’s just such a shame that it confused the living bejesus out of so many people.

And, If confusing lots of people wasn’t already enough, Google’s marketing team got their crayola’s out again and renamed the Google Cast app into the Google Home app.

Again their aim was logical – they wanted to emphasise the apps role as the central hub for controlling Chomecast/Google Cast, and Google Home speaker.

Unfortunately as logical as it may seem, it is also completely overthought, not to mention unnecessary. It addressed a branding issue that frankly most of their customers probably didn’t give a rats arse about.

Worst of all, it added a cupful of confusion to an existing swirling mess of brand name chaos.

This isn’t the first time that Google's marketing team have done this either – just take a closer look at the tangled wreckage that is their messaging app branding strategies. We have hangouts (or do we?) Allo, and then there’s some video calling app whose name was so forgettable I can’t remember it now.

The real shame of it is that Google makes great stuff, and their apps are often insanely handy. I’ve lost count of the number of times that uttering “ok Google” and getting the latest weather, news or bus timetables has saved my bacon. It’s just that their marketing team tend to overthink and complicate things and that unfortunately detracts rather than adds.

So, grumpy tech guy rant aside, the burning questions on my mind are this; What is Google’s tech for streaming called now? What will it be called next month?

Perhaps google should focus less on silly marketing issues that no one really cares about and focus on getting the pixel and other Google hardware into smaller markets like NZ, instead of relying on parallel importers and treating us Kiwis as the poor cousins to Aussie.

When Google launched their Home speaker and their new phones I asked one of their PR chaps when their gear would hit our shores... I got a disappointing and waffly response along the lines of ‘yes they plan to launch in other countries in the near future’.

Is it just me or do I feel a Tui moment coming on here???

Okay, so I get that NZ is a pimple at the arse end of the world and that we're never going to be a priority for Google. But it seems that with each successful Google product launch, New Zealand has remained a largely forgotten market until a much later date. 

Their phones are always hard to find in NZ; the Nexus may have been an incredible device but you needed a Geiger counter to find one locally.

It took ages for the chrome cast (or whatever Google are calling now) to hit retailer shelves. This just adds insult to injury.

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