Exaggerating The Mobile Threat To Google

from the sorry,-don't-see-it dept

There's a Business Week article making the rounds saying that it's not Microsoft or Yahoo that's a real threat to Google, but the rise of the mobile web, which will somehow shrink ad inventory and cause headaches for Google. It's a nice theory, but it's hard to square with reality. Increasing use of the mobile screen is hardly likely to decrease usage of a full computer screen. If anything, it will likely make desktop computing more useful in some cases. The article also makes a few other questionable statements. First, it points out that the mobile screen is smaller, so there's less ad inventory, and then it points out that the growing acceptance of the mobile web is due to the web browser on the iPhone. That sounds good, but the points contradict each other. The success of the iPhone's browser is due to the fact that it presents a full (not limited) web browsing experience -- so it doesn't really limit the inventory available to Google. Furthermore, even if the inventory was limited (which seems unlikely) that's not necessarily a bad thing for Google. Google's success has been based on making ads more relevant -- not just more available. This was what resulted in so much confusion during Google's recent earnings announcement. Google had made some changes to drive more relevant clickthroughs -- and while that may lower actual clickthroughs, it increases revenue. So, even if inventory is limited, if Google is still the best at making ads relevant, it will do just fine.

Filed Under: ads, mobile, real estate, search
Companies: apple, google


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  1. identicon
    Iron Chef, 30 Apr 2008 @ 7:51am

    There are going to be applications that can't be ported from the desktop to a mobile screen. Technology is going to be a sticking point too. Todays wireless networks just weren't built with even 20% customer data adoption in mind. Apple is certainly a standout and shown that there is a need in the marketplace, but mobile data was not a priority. Latency is also going to be an issue, maybe preventing online game adoption.

    But when it comes to ads, I've seen some trials, but they fall short, usually because they fail to take into consideration the reality:

    When you're on the go, are you really going to "click here" to find out about the 10% discount? Probaly not. You goal is usually to get some sort of map or news article quickly.

    I see the two complementing, not replacing each other, at least for the next few years until 4G networks (LTE) come forward.

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