Hurricane Sandy has begun its reign (and rain) of terror on the east coast of the US, but before the floods and power outages, the adverse weather claimed its first victim: a big, showy launch for Google. In lieu, the company has been forced to stage the most lo-fi product launch for years.

But the news is still just as full of Google headlines as it otherwise would be. So, what’s the real benefit in a big keynote launch? 

That video carries the bulk of the news: Google has launched a variety of new Nexus devices – the Nexus 4 handset, an upgraded 32GB Nexus 7 and a Samsung-made 10-inch Nexus 10.

All of this, along with some light changes to Android’s services, was supposed to be the subject of a keynote speech in the US – a largeascale launch the likes of which is now the norm among tech manufacturers.

Hurricane Sandy stopped that, forcing Google to show its hand via email, video and on its blog. Disaster, right? Not really – all the likely news hubs still reported on the launches exactly as they otherwise would.

It makes you think: do companies hold these events because they have an intrinsic value, or is it merely because everyone else does? Go back about five years, and Apple was the only company hosting surprise announcements on the scale Google had planned. Its whooping, hollering keynotes were different to everyone else’s, they were much grander – and therefore special.

The secret behind Apple’s secret launches

But now it’s all identikit: you gather 500 journalists into a room, talk for half an hour about how the company is doing, then slowly unveil your wares, pausing for applause several times along the way. It’s the press release glammed up and stretched out over the course of (at least) an hour. But why?

If the online press is going to cover big launches regardless, does it really matter where they are when it happens? Google’s understated launch was a forced one, but the press writ large probably preferred it: there was no preamble, no bullshit and no traveling.

The Nexus info hit inboxes and RSS feeds at the same time, and everyone duly reported on it. And, if anything, it felt like a refreshing change of pace; not anti-climatic, just a bit more relaxed, and certainly less needlessly hyperbolic.

The start of things to come? Almost definitely not, but perhaps it should be. Do you agree? Let us know below.

  • William Tatum

    I absolutely agree, nothing is as frustrating, for a tech junkie, as having to listen to over-the-top hype. Show me what you’ve got and save the rest for some other schmuck.

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