Once upon a time, it was easy to characterize Google’s domain and business model: they provided well-organized internet search results through a simple, friendly interface, and made money through targeted advertising. Over the years, the company has grown more complex even faster than has the — still admirably spare — Google home page, as it’s either assimilated or originated all kinds of adjuncts to pure search. The Nexus Q
, as the company’s first-ever fully home-grown consumer electronics product (as opposed to Google-branded but jointly developed phones and tablets) shows just how far that path has led, and hints at cooler things to come. By default, though, the device is severely limited, intended basically as an overqualified gateway to content stored at Google’s Play media store, or at (Google-controlled) YouTube. And if that weren’t constrained enough, it requires another Android device (phone or tablet, say) as a remote control. The Q is equipped with impressive hardware internally, though, which might soon be exploited with software more flexible than that which comes loaded.