Google I/O Product Plans: 10 Clues to the Company's Future Growth

News Analysis: Google has taken the stage at its I/O conference to talk about its future product development plans. Those plans reveal a lot about where Google sees the potential for growth in the next few years.

At the first day of Google I/O 2011, it was clear that the search giant had a mission. At its keynote address, the company indicated that over the next several months and years, it wants to have a presence in as many markets as possible. The days of just relying upon search and advertising are officially dead.

Of course, that isn't much of a surprise. For years now, Google has been building its share of the smartphone market with its Android operating system. The firm's acquisition of AdMob in 2009 ensured that it would also play a bit role in mobile advertising. Now that there are some Android-based tablets on store shelves, Google has its sights set on Apple's iPad.

But Google didn't focus all its time on mobile communication or mobile advertising at the I/O Conference keynote. The company touched on a number of additional markets that it believes it can perform well in. It talked about new ways it will grow in its established markets as well as how it plans to grow in new market sectors.

Here's what Google's I/O announcements reveal about the company's future growth roadmap.

1. It has its sights set on iTunes.

Arguably the biggest announcement Google made at its I/O conference was Google Music. The service, which is currently in beta, offers users in the U.S. free access to songs over the Web. Android owners will also be able to access tracks from the cloud. For now, Google Music isn't much of a threat to Apple's iTunes platform. But it's apparent that the cloud is the next frontier in music. Now, Google is laying the groundwork to become the dominant player in that market-much to Apple's chagrin.

2. Google is more committed than ever to smartphones.

Google spent a considerable amount of time at the I/O conference talking about its presence in the smartphone market with Android. The company stated clearly that it won't slacken its effort to keep expanding its mobile business. According to Google, over 100 million Android devices have been activated. Moreover, over 400,000 Android-based products are being activated each and every day. There is good reason for Google to commit itself to smartphones.

3. Google wants to keep expanding the tablet market.

Google didn't just stop at smartphones. The company also showed that it wants to build an even bigger presence in the tablet market. And it plans to start that charge by releasing Android Honeycomb 3.1, an update to the OS running on Android-based tablets. With the update, consumers will find a number of performance and bug fixes. It will also address an issue with image rendering. By the looks of things, Android 3.1 might just be Google's best answer yet to iOS 4 running on the iPad.

4. It's committed to mobile entertainment.

As the popularity of smartphones and tablets increases, people are looking to do more with those platforms. That's why Google's announcement of the Movies service, allowing users to rent films from the Android Market makes a lot of sense. Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important for people who want to be entertained while on the go. Google wants to be at the center of that changeover.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...