Google Search Trends - Q1 2015

Every so often it's important to look at what people are searching for on the web. This is a new type of report for Tech Bytes, and something that will be examined every quarter - either with new keywords or old ones. 

The momentum of interest for wearable computing (especially smartwatches), home automation, and the internet of things has really picked up over the last six years, and there is a definite upward trend for Google searches.

However, it's important to note that we are still in the early stages of the industry when we are talking about mobile technology other than smartphones and tablets. If we compare the the above search terms to say the term "smartphone," this becomes very obvious. Smartphones are still overwhelmingly the most popular mobile technology, and this is reflected by the number of searches for smartphones.

So why is this the case? Well, wearable computers are still just companion devices. They are luxury goods. Until a new fitness revolution comes about, or radically new communication and navigation technologies are developed and implemented, it is likely that people will prioritize smartphones above all else. 

A comparable scenario is the current state of the tablet market. Worldwide tablet sale growth is down again, and Apple in particular is expected to ship fewer iPads. Does this mean that tablets are dead? No, of course not. It just means that - for most people who are on a limited budget - a smartphone is a "one size fits all" device that does most tasks "ok." Tablets like the iPad are expensive, so they are less appealing and are often viewed as "in between" devices. Wearable computing is the same.

The exception to this is home automation and the Internet of Things (IoT). We have been teased with this technology for a long time - probably ever since we were Shown Bill Gates' automated home ten years ago. Also, the connected home and connected world tie into the smartphone market, as many of these devices (the Phillips Hue lighting system for example) can be controlled by your phone or tablet. It is possible that interest in home automation and the IoT will surpass the wearables market, since the success of these products is more closely linked to the success of the smartphone.