Culture

Finding Google's way in mobile

Actually, the truly "big question" is when someone will actually create advertising that appeals to real interests that users have. There are all sorts of things that I'd like to buy, if priced and timed right. But most advertisements completely

Fabrizio takes Google to task for its "Johnny One Note" approach to mobile: To the man with a hammer (Browser-based advertising model), everything looks like a nail (Browser). But he also points to how Google can extend its desktop web search dominance to mobile:

...[F]or Google to dominate in mobile, they have to find a way to dominate in messaging (not in browsing). Gmail is not the way....The Google of Mobile will come from mobile messaging [SMS, texting, email, IM, social communications], ad-based.

I wonder....Given that we are preconditioned to pay for services on our mobile devices, couldn't Google also explore a baked-in monthly subscription fee that the carrier embeds in one's wireless plan? Something that users pay for in the same way we pay scads of taxes each month without knowing precisely why?

Perhaps. But as the desktop has shown, given the choice between a good enough free service and a packaged and paid-for service, good enough and free is going to win out.

The big question, then, will be how to make mobile advertising relevant and innocuous. As for relevance, theoretically, a mobile ad should be much more targeted because my device knows my location. As for innocuous, this has long been Google's strong suit: Minimalist text ads that hint but don't overload.

Actually, the truly "big question" is when someone will actually create advertising that appeals to real interests that users have, and packages it for mobile. There are all sorts of things that I'd like to buy, if priced and timed right. But most advertisements completely miss what I really want, even when they accompany my searches.

Perhaps Google can develop the next phase of advertising, which is less about search and more about letting advertisements find their ways to the people that have already advertised their interest in hearing certain offers.

Maybe my phone could contain a short list of things I really want to buy (Rossignol Ravens, 180 centimeters in length, for under $500) and I could subscribe to sellers that meet these conditions. To buy I'd just SMS a short code back to the seller and they could deduct from my G-Cash account, and automatically send it to the address on record with my mobile provider.

It really wouldn't be that hard.