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Google Still Searching for Right Mix of Innovation and Application

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Day one of Google's (GOOGL - Get Report) annual developer conference in San Francisco answered many questions.

At the same time, the search giant affirmed many assumptions investors and analysts might have had about its ambitions: they're too scattered. More than anything this perceived lack of focus, which mirrors the fragmentation of its Android operating system, is at the heart of the many questions that still remain with Google's future.

That said, investors applauded what Google had to say Wednesday, sending the stock up 2.43%, closing for the day at $585.93, up 4.5% for the year to date. But can it last?

Wednesday we read reports of Google's Android TV, Google's set-top box aimed at competing against existing devices from Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN). But it's not groundbreaking.

There's also no clear path to suggest Google can emerge the victor in an already crowded space. Google is following market incumbents, not leading. Not to mention, any success Android TV enjoys will have to come at the expense of Google's already-popular Chromecast, which will be cannibalized.

Google also unveiled several Android-powered smartwatches. By partnering with LG and Samsung (SSNLF), Google is hoping to make a dent in a market where there are already several key players.

Both LG's and Samsung's watches will be available for order immediately. But Google stopped short of saying when they will actually be shipped, which suggests to me they are not yet in production. Some observers have -- justifiably -- asked, what's the point? But the point is clear.

This has all the makings of a clever tactic to get impatient would-be smartwatch consumers to pre-order now, which may take the pent-up demand away from Apple's highly anticipated iWatch. It is for this reason that Google said a third Motorola-version smartwatch will go on sale later this summer.

While this may make some sense from a competitive point of view, it also signals the lack of differentiation the devices are likely to have when compared Apple's iWatch. Recall, Apple has met with the Food and Drug Administration to determine the FDA's interest in regulating the iWatch's capabilities.

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