Back when Yahoo was the hot internet company, it made a number of deals with ISPs to offer co-branded internet access. Now that Google has taken Yahoo's mantle, it looks like similar hookups with ISPs may be in the works. Today the company announced an agreement (via EuroTelcoblog) with UK operator BSkyB to co-deliver a range of services to BSkyB customers. For the most part, it doesn't look particularly exciting. The companies will work together to deliver VoIP and video services, while Google will assume control of the advertising on BSkyB web properties; it seems safe to assume that the advertising is the core of the deal, since that's where the money is for now. As for the other stuff, like video and VoIP, anyone with an internet connection can already get those things whether their ISP has signed a deal or not. BSkyB will be able to use these services to make its cheap, no-frills broadband offering more attractive, and they're what Google's given in trade to be able to lock down the ad inventory of Sky's web properties. That's the real value here for Google -- the ability to sell that ad space, not the extra users of its services it might gain. Therein lies the difference between this deal and the deals involving Yahoo. It's not about licensing the Google brand name or driving users to its services, it's about offering those services in exchange for access to ad space. Google's made similar moves before (deals with Dell, Firefox and Opera being the most prominent) , and will continue to try to sew up market share wherever it can. But it's not just interested in growing the market share of its services like Gmail in these deals, it's interested in grabbing a bigger share of the online ad market.
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