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Google emulates Microsoft with 'Android everywhere' effort

| Saturday, July 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — Google has laid out a stunningly ambitious vision for Android, its operating system originally developed for smartphones.

Best described as “Android everywhere,” this effort will put the OS in lots of new places, powering a wide range of consumer devices. Consumers will be able to run the same basic apps whether they have a smartphone, smart watch or TV — and use Google's services.

But it's worth noting that Google's not the first tech company with as broad a vision. Since about the turn of the century, Microsoft has had similar designs for Windows. It would run in everything from handheld devices to cars.

But Microsoft's vision foundered; consumers and other companies didn't want Windows everywhere. Will Google have any better luck?

There's no doubt that Google is serious about this idea, which took up most of its presentation to developers at the Google I/O conference. To get developers on board, since they will be crucial to the success of this effort, Google is rolling out software tools that will help them customize their Android apps for these new devices.

And Google is doing something similar, altering the OS for all these gadgets. The interface for Android TV will look different from the one for Android Wear smart watches, not to mention Android smartphones.

It's clear why developers would be interested. Branching into TVs and smart watches offers the possibility of giant, fast-growing markets for years to come. Having all those devices run Android offers the promise that developers could write one app that could reach millions or even billions of consumers on whatever gadget they happen to be using at the time.

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