Google: The mastermind on the web or straight out greedy?
To most people Google is the go-to search engine with a familiar white background and the occasional holiday-appropriate graphic change. What many may not know, however, is how Google transitioned from a simple webÂ search engine with "contextual"Â paid listing (a.k.a. AdSense) to a successful explorer of new spaces, including smart phones, tablets, television, operating systems, cloud computing, cars that drive themselves, gaming and the list goes on.
After doing some (ahem) Googling on the company's history and roots in online video and display advertising, I began to realize the financial promise of Google and its effect on the online video industry as we know it. It's no surprise that Google, with its acquisitions of YouTube and DoubleClick, has blossomed into a much bigger video-centric platform as a result of increasing competition, including from the ever-growing mobile industry. Furthermore, as smart phones continue to gain traction with consumers, Google's convenience and accessibility can be enjoyed on a much broader scale by anyone with internet capabilities on their phones (a number that is undoubtedly growing by the day).
Being the devil's advocate that I am, it would be wrong for me to go without mentioning Apple and to a lesser degree Microsoft as two aggressive competitors in the digital media space. However, Google's mobile advantage (being its Android operating system (OS)), has raised the stakes for all Internet connected devices. Google's segue into the smart phone and the much anticipated tablet industry adds another avenue for them to collect usage data and make it available to advertisers. Once Google enhances its design and usability, a feature Apple is most commended for, it will have the full package in the mobile space.
As Google continues to unify the whole multimedia experience, it has now set its sights on the television industry, launching Google TV this month. Google TV, comprised of an Internet connected television (or device for an existing TV), delivers your existing television providers content seamlessly integrated with a layer of web goodness from online sites (although this list is getting shorter by the day as providers block their web content) and,early next year, apps from the Market. However, in the background, Google is silently capturing information about what you are watching, your viewing behavior, when and if you stopped watching XYZ show, and even the sites you visited while viewing regular television on cable (picture-in-picture style). A pretty powerful piece of analytics gathering equipment, I'd say.
Google's main competitors in the living room - Apple and Microsoft- may present some future challenges, but there is something to be said about being the first online system to completely change the face of the Web, literally and metaphorically. Others have put stuff "on" your TV, but Google has made the Internet and everything else "part" of the TV. With Google continually offering mind-bending new products and initiatives, mostly for free, it makes one wonder: What will Google do next and how will it affect content owners and aggregators?
Author: Nicole Figueiredo, Marketing Manager