What is Google really building?

Cloud Whatever the mysterious “entertainment device” is that Google is seeking permission from the FCC to test in the homes of its employees, it almost certainly is not a device for streaming music wirelessly around the home, as the Wall Street Journal speculated last week. While I’m sure it will be capable of streaming music wirelessly, I’m certain it will be capable of a lot more than that, too.

The device itself isn’t really much of a mystery. Google pretty much told us what it would be last year, at Google I/O 2011, when it showed off a pair of “Tungston” devices. Among other things it does, Google described the Tungston as an “end point for Google Music Beta,” that would retrieve music stored in users’ Google cloud locker and stream it wirelessly around the house.

That really can’t be all there is to it, however. For one thing, as noted by Tom Cullen, co-founder of Sonos, which already sells a device for streaming music wirelessly around the home, his company’s total annual revenue is only about $200 million a year, which would barely register for Google, which raked in $38 billion last year. For another, the “home entertainment device” referred to in Google’s Read More »