Google I/O took place this week, and as expected, the tech giant rolled out an incredible lineup of new products and features, including:
The Pixel 3a, a powerful smartphone with a $399 price tag (and more importantly, a headphone jack)
Project Euphonia, a new voice recognition model that will service people with speech impairments.
New augmented reality modes for Maps and Search.
Expanded support for Kotlin, including a new Kotlin-based UI toolkit called Jetpack Compose.
And yet, the announcement that generated the most attention wasn't a product at all.
It was privacy.
Tech writers were rightfully thrilled about the new privacy-centric features and products Google rolled out. The biggest included expanding incognito mode to more Google services, new privacy commitments for Google products, and more than 50 privacy-focused features added to Android.
And, people were just as intrigued by the privacy philosophy that CEO Sundar Pichai shared.
Throughout his speech, and in an op-ed he published days earlier titled “Privacy Should Not Be A Luxury Good,” Pichai pushed back on the idea that Google offered free services in exchange for “surveillance,” as Apple CEO Tim Cook once put it.
Instead, Pichai professed that providing secure, privacy-respecting services that everyone could afford—not charging the iPhone's price-tag, in other words—is key to Google's vision. As he wrote in his op-ed, “We’ve stayed focused on the products and features that make privacy a reality — for everyone.” His examples included making sure Search “works the same whether you’re a professor at Harvard or a student in rural Indonesia.”
Gizmodo was skeptical of the announcements. TechCrunch saw them as enlightened. But regardless of how onlookers felt, the amount of attention these announcements generated highlights just how important privacy is to marketing for major tech companies.
In 2018, we called privacy the year's biggest trend in tech. It seems that in 2019, this trend is only going to continue, with tech giants fighting to prove they are the company you can truly trust with your data.
For companies like Google and Apple, building that trust might be just as valuable as building a better product.
In 2010, a company called UberCab raised a seed round on AngelList.
We sent the email above to investors on AngelList. Five of them ended up investing in the seed round.
Since then, Uber has hired on AngelList Talent and launched its rider app on Product Hunt. With Friday’s IPO, it will join the ranks of super companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.