You can forget giving the gift of Google this season

first_imgGoogle has now infiltrated every single space that Apple and Amazon have been dominating for years. With their foot in the door, Google hopes to bring users away from the content serving powerhouses of iTunes and Amazon.com and over onto the Google-branded products. Rent a movie with Google Videos on your tablet, grab the latest best seller on Google Books, or listen your favorite song with Google Music. Combined with the Android Market, which services tens of thousands of new users every single day, It’s not so hard to see the potential Google has to succeed in this venture. Google’s services are not only available on every Android device out there, but also anything with a web browser, so why wouldn’t you want to at least try it out?During the holidays, however, it doesn’t matter quite as much how much you shove your service in peoples’ faces though. You need to be able to grab the attention of people who would be buying things, or at least create a situation where a buyer can share their great experience with  friends and family. It seems, however, that such a plan is not in place this year, so you can forget giving (or receiving) the gift of Google this year.Hard to compete with a wall of colorI challenge you to find a store this holiday season that doesn’t have a stand or shelf or something on the checkout counted with a stack of $10 and $20 gift cards for iTunes. They are everywhere, those brightly-colored reminders that someone in your family uses iTunes and would love a gift card. Some stores are even including them with the purchase of an iOS product, so when that person gets their new iPad all set up, they even have a couple bucks to go shopping with.It’s not just Apple, either. LivingSocial recently held a deal where for $10 you could get a $20 Amazon.com gift card, good for anything on their website. For the Christmas shopper, it was free money and over a million were sold in a matter of hours. Even if the person you are giving that gift card to isn’t interested in books or music at first, when they buy their trinket and realize they have that extra $3 left over, where do you think they will head next? Gift certificates, especially during the holidays, are something every business should have, especially when you have a diverse product base like Google does now.Not just for ChristmasThe holidays are currently the most relevant example, sure, but it’s hardly the only time it matters. What about when you find a great app in the Android Market and want to share it with someone? Steam, the super popular download service for PC games, has implemented the best example of this, in my opinion. You can choose to gift a game to someone if you have their Steam ID. Some indie game publishers have even started to bundle their games so that you are actually buying two copies, and you gift the other copy to your friend when you buy it.With the heavy increase in multiplayer gaming on Android, and the sheer bulk of apps out there, why wouldn’t you wan these features in the Market? App discovery on all the platforms isn’t exactly the best, so how great would it be if I stumbled across a great app and had the ability to gift it to a friend so I had someone else to share that experience with?Gifting would also be a great way to solve the issue of children being able to use the Android Market. I certainly don’t want my little ones using a tablet that has my credit card attached to it, but I would love for them to have a device that I could just gift them an app when I wanted them to have it. As devices like the Samsung Galaxy Player start to become available, I know more than a few parents who would jump at the opportunity to gift their kids apps instead of giving their children access to the credit card.Final ThoughtsI’m sure I am not the only one who feels this way. A gift card or a gifting system for Google’s services would be huge. Even of they didn’t want to match Apple’s in-store presence or LivingSocial’s free money incentive, there’s just no reason to ignore this.Google Wallet, having recently swallowed Google Checkout, should be able to support this. With Android Beam, the NFC-powered bump-to transfer-service, coming to Android 4.0, gift giving between Android users could be as easy as a fistbump, if only Google would pick up the ball.last_img read more