Quoted: Google vs. Apple in innovation

“The greatest innovation in the world right now is coming from Google.”

Walter Isaacson, author of “Steve Jobs,” the biography of the late Apple CEO. Apple, of course, is one of Google’s two biggest competitors. Isaacson said that while Apple’s partnership with China Mobile is a big deal, he thought Google’s announcement this week that it’s buying Nest is an even bigger deal. The $3.2 billion purchase of Nest, which makes high-end, app-controlled thermostats and smoke detectors, reflects “an amazingly strong integrated strategy that Google has to connect all of our devices, all of our lives,” he said. (In case you haven’t heard, that push is called the Internet of Things.)

Some might argue that innovation by acquisition doesn’t count, but Google also has created or is working on: self-driving cars, Google Glass, robots, balloons to bring Internet connections to far-flung places, and more. Meanwhile, people are waiting for Apple to come out with the next big thing. (CEO Tim Cook has hinted at “big things,” and Apple has been known to deliver.) Nick Bilton of the New York Times — who recently wrote that the future of tech seems to belong to Google — also pointed out a key difference between Google and Apple: “If Apple is working in secret on its own robot army and futuristic universe, Google is building for the future in public.”


Photo: A bicyclist rides by a Google self-driving car at Google’s Mountain View headquarters in 2012. (Getty Images)

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (4262 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also helps take care of SiliconValley.com, the Mercury News tech website. Email: lsumagaysay@bayareanewsgroup.com