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What Would You Ask Sundar Pichai, SVP Android & Chrome at Google?

By - February 24, 2014

sundar_pichaiA week from this coming Sunday at SXSW, I’ll be interviewing Sundar Pichai, Google’s Senior Vice President, Android, Chrome & Apps. Pichai has a huge job at Google, overseeing the company’s mobile ecosystem, from hardware (the Nexus platform) to the burgeoning Play store (oh, and that little browser/OS called Chrome, to boot). Last year, he took over Android from its founder Andy Rubin, who has moved his focus to new (and currently undisclosed) Google moonshots. Android is a huge business for Google – more than a billion devices have been activated since its inception. And that’s well before markets for autos, wearables, and enterprise heat up.

The interview is in classic SXSW keynote form – just us on stage, with a room of 1,000 or so attendees from the festival’s interactive track. On a prep call last week, Sundar mentioned he’d be up for hearing from readers here and on various social networks, so I’m issuing a call: What questions do you have for the man in charge of Google’s mobile future? A few that come to mind:

- What is Android’s role beyond phones & tablets? Pichai has said Android is moving into areas such as the enterprise, wearables, and automobiles. How might that play out? Will Nest become an Android device? Will you have to join Google+ to manage your thermostat?!

- I’ve called Google Now “The tip of a very long spear.” Is that a fair characterization?

- Much has been written about fragmentation in the Android ecosystem-is this a problem? Is Android truly “open”?

- The relationship between Google and Samsung seems strained – how is it going?

- What is the future of the Nexus effort – is Google committed to being a hardware player, or is the Nexus line mainly a way to show off how best to create devices? Related – what happened with Motorola? Was that a mistake, or part of a master plan?

- How do Chromebooks and the Chrome OS fit into Google’s future? How do we think about Chrome as separate from Android?

-  Chromecast, Google Fiber, Play, YouTube: All seem positioned to combat the Comcasts of the world. What’s Google’s POV on cord cutting and the cablecos?
Might Google up and buy sports rights?

What questions do you have for Pichai? Leave a comment here, or tweet them to me @johnbattelle. Hope to see you at SXSW!

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  • Peter Frandsen

    Something about Nokia…X

  • Hugo Peña M

    Please something about Google´s ATAP Group!!

    • johnbattelle

      Ah, the new group from Motorola?

      • Hugo Peña M


  • Dorian Benkoil

    Google is, above all, a search company, in the broadest sense. Maps, Google Now, Google Earth, etc. How do Chrome OS and Chromebooks — sometimes seen as a simple land grab, a way to increase people’s reliance on Google — fit into the larger ethos?

  • Richard

    When will we see a chrome os tablet? I hope very soon!

  • bob

    1) Will Android and Chrome merge this year or at least Chrome support Android apps?
    2) Are they working on a contextual O/S?

  • george

    Are you worried about index search not translating and monetizing as well on mobile?

  • Pingback: Multiformat | Midweek Good Reads

  • Hugo Peña M

    Great question for Sundar: Are you working on a contextual O/S?

  • jaduncan

    GTalk used to be XMPP based. Will the Hangouts protocol be submitted as a standard?

  • Chirag

    Can u shed some more light about Project ARA ?

  • Jarred

    1) When will the Nexus 10 2 (or Nexus 10 2014) be released?
    2) Why doesn’t Google force manufactures to ship their devices with stock android? I don’t like any of their skins like touchwiz, and they slow every device down. Just look at Samsung’s new Magazine UX, it’s awful
    3) When will Google Play Devices, Google Play Movies, Magazine etc. come to South Africa?

  • idlukakas

    When we’ll get Hangouts update for Android?

    I wish they do this for android:-Voice call
    -Voice message
    -Status (Online, away, busy and offline)
    -timestamp last seen
    -Google voice
    -draw messages
    -join sms and hangouts message in one thread
    -block people

  • Mark Dodsworth

    Can you ask Sundar how important he see’s the future of Chrome apps and how big a role will they play in Googles future?

  • vamsi deepak ampolu

    How much consultation/participation is sought from external developers when new Android versions are launched?Google Play Services?Fixing security bugs without version update?Combating WhatsApp+Facebook on mobile?Google Glass and Android?

  • danycagiva

    Will there be a itunes like software for nexus phones and tablets available on chrome?

    • Aaron Jaeger

      Google Music?

  • Jace Hernandez

    Question: With Android, iOS and WP being more and more available worldwide, what is the plan for services like Google Play Music and Google Wallet being available outside of the US? Why does it seem that iOS and WP are able to release things like XBOX music or Passport / iTunes radio in places like Canada, while Android users are completely cut off from Play Music and Wallet and Voice in Canada and other countries? Are the “US only, at launch” releases going to change sometime soon? Thank you.

  • anywherehome

    Why there have been almost zero visible innovations of Android for the past 2 years?

    Samsung has a huge success despite its “difficulties” and “Study: iPhone owners have ‘blind loyalty’ and will buy anything Apple makes”.

    So it’s simply not true that customers want a very simple system without options.

    Are you aware of that you could be threatened by Tizen when manufacturers find there is no real progress? Why are you not able to give us at least optional number of desktops or permission manager?

    Thank you

  • anywherehome

    Why don’t you fight against Microsoft patent blackmailing? Microsoft earns more money from Android than Google. Why don’t you create an Android alliance and cancel all the licences with Microsoft? The world tends to be cancelling all the abusive patents keeping progress behind.

    Thank you

  • heyho

    1. Please explain us in detail, why does the Google Services (Music, Books, Movie, Magazine) are different in many countries? I love Android, but this is a downside for me..

    2. What happened with nexus 10? Is there any Nexus devices that Google will launch this year?

    3. I live in South East Asia and everytime a Nexus device launched, I must wait for approximately 3 month(Nexus 5 launched here on January 2014) for Nexus phones and 6month++ for a Nexus tablet(Nexus 10 still don’t have any information, Nexus 7 (2013) launched on end-february 2014!). How long is the Nexus-selling-lifecycle (from launched one Nexus to the new one, especially tablets)?

  • Onel Benjamin

    Is Google planning on speeding up Android update such as OTA’s and App updates?

  • Steve

    With Sprint adding Wifi calling, are you (for the love of all things holy) going to put wifi calling back into your Nexus line – starting with the Nexus 6? My Galaxy Nexus is getting old – but stuck until I have wifi calling to upgrade to.

    • johnbattelle

      Sorry we missed that one! Interview was Sunday..