Google Goodness?

It’s day 2 at Google I/O so by now you would have seen most of the major announcements made by the lead Googlers during I/O13 keynote opening session.
The presentation went on for a solid 3 hours, you can view it here .
For me, the product highlights were: of course the all access music service, the new and awesomely enhanced maps (with content discovery, 3D imagery inside buildings, offers, geo fencing, activity recognition and live traffic event), as well as the Star Trek computer project, which is the future of search (awesome and related to one of my previous post) and the new user features for Google+ (photo sharing & editing, content recommendation # and multiplatform sign on- a real plus on Facebook).

A multitude of journalists and bloggers have covered the event and you can learn the details of all these features elsewhere (Google: I/O13).

google I/O 2103

google I/O 2103

The two things I will focus on this live post are: My personal experience being part of the crowd at Google I/O and how Google is building the future of the Internet.

This year the event gathered over 6,000 attendees. The highlight of I/O is always the opening keynote, where the big announcements are made. The line in front of Mascone West 2hrs before kick off looked like the usual queue for the Sistine chapel. Funny analogy, but later that morning Sundar Pichai (SVP of Chrome and Android) actually referred to funeral of Pope J.P II and the nomination of Pope Francis to illustrate how mobile devices have changed our behaviour. The parallel between Google and a new kind of religion is too obvious here #justsaying…

French style… I might have slightly jumped the queue at the entrance and then waited for another 1h30min, I finally made it to the main theatre. It filled up quick, every single sit taken, lots of people standing in the aisles. Dimmed light, smooth electronic tunes playing in the background. Countdown clocks on the big screens and a tangible build of excitement as the clocks got closer to 0! The last 10 seconds were literally like NYE. Google brought us NYE at 9am, at that point in time we didn’t know that Google was also going to bring us Christmas at 2pm by giving away free Chorme books to everyone!

The first speaker to get on stage was Vic Gundotra (Vice President). All his followers were just as polished and impressive. Naturally at ease in front of 6,000 demoing live technologies. Very inspiring presentations, mixed with animations and live demos… and Larry Page came on stage to clos off the keynote! He gave a casual chat about where Google is now opportunities ahead. He even opened to the floor for questions…. and they were as diverse as: how does Google protects freedom of speech to how to help youngsters be positive about technology or how to get more women in tech carrers… which brings me to my second point: How Google is building the future of the Internet.

The future of the Internet will be seamlessly multiplatform, easy to use, frictionless, intuitive and infiltrated in everything we do. After spending 2 days at I/O it is hard to say if the future is organically shaping up that way or if Google is building it that way.

Larry Page says that technology must get out of the way for us to spend more time doing what makes us happy. Did Google’s CEO, really said that. Yes he did!

Very early on, when developing Google, like Steve Jobs, Larry recognised that the power of the Internet is not in super computers but in all the PCs in homes around the world. At the moment all these computers are connected via tiny pipes, which dramatically limits the possibilities. Google wants unleash this opportunity! Since its inception Google has aimed for big audacious goals. As Susan Wojcicki (Senior Vice President) testified, when Larry and Sergei were renting her garage their objective was to organise the world’s information… the same bold philosophy drove projects like maps, street view, Glass, Fibre etc.… and still applies now more than more than ever. That is exactly what makes me think that there is nothing that Google cannot do. It currently dominates the global online advertising market (search and display combined), keeps diversifying its revenue streams; its share just crossed $900…. Even if Larry says that there is no safe place to experiment and to roll out technology, when Google decides to index every street corner or under water spots all around the world and add real 3D images to every single spot, it puts a world class engineers in a room and ask them a way to figure it out, test it and deploy!

He also said that Google has a strong desire for free flow of information and freedom of speech. Protecting personal information, computer security, being as transparent as possible… and empowering individuals. And Google does empower us by giving us technologies: rolling out Fibre in 4 test cities in the USA, giving away 6,000 chrome books, supporting computer literacy in schools… but is it really for us to do the things we love, or is it to increase Google’s Power? Imagine what super high-speed connexion will do to YouTube or a whole generation of kids familiar with Chrome book pixel…

There seems to be only one area, at the moment that Google can’t penetrate and that is healthcare. Larry’s explanation on it is just because too much regulation and that laws are now irrelevant as they were made before the Internet even existed, but he clearly sees user benefits for Google to get into space and has no shame talking about DNA sequencing….

The more time I spend in this environment, or may it’s because I just finished reading “The End of Big” but Google seems to me more and more like an institution that is some respects more influential on societies that governments. Scary or exciting?

Marie Sornin

Summary slides:

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My observations about social selling

The global take up of social networks, has transformed “peer to peer” recommendations and is changing the way consumers search for products. So, what is the impact of social media on search & the purchase funnel?

Based on my experience of leading major brands through digital and social media transformation and my knowledge of social network features, I collected 3 observations demonstrating that search and social are colliding into what I call “searchial”.
Here are my observations and insights on future transformations.

1st observation: 50% of consumers and marketers use social for search

Recent research revealed that:
– 50% of marketers say that social media has impacted their search engine marketing strategy.
Social media has transformed the purchase funnel into a cycle by adding one more step to the traditional “awareness>consideration>decision” model: The “share” phase.
The key for retailers is to not only to engage their audience on social networks but also to integrate their customers’ social graph into the shopping experience. Some retailers have done it brilliantly (e.g.: Levi’s friends store, Etsy Connect Your Shop)

– In Europe: 50% of 16-64 year old have used social networks to inform their buying decisions.
Google remains by far the first search engine in the world with over 3 billion searches per day. Did you know that the second search engine in the world is a social platform: YouTube with 2 billion searches per day… and that 1.6 Million searches are conducted on Twitter every day!

Here, I would recommend reading “Grouped” by Paul Adams (Global Head of Brand design at Facebook), which provides great detail on understanding the social graph.

2nd observation: social networks are rolling out search features
Facebook search graph: let’s you search for movies, restaurants, music, and photos… based on you & your friends activity…

Facebook Search Graph screenshot: let’s you search for movies, restaurants, music, and photos… based on you & your friends activity…

Facebook search graph

Google is now positioning G+ has the social spine to all Google products and has already integrated +1 interactions on search results. Case studies show that adding social annotation increases click through rates significantly (+12.2% for SEM branded campaign).

Tweeter just rolled out key word targeting ad products… and this is just the beginning…

3rd observation: Social accelerates purchase decision

Extensive research conducted by Google (unfortunately, no Australian data), which places social media on the customer journey along other online marketing technics, shows that for most categories, social media plays a strong role at the awareness stage.

Google Think: channels play different roles in customer journey

Google Think research

But, other experts contradict that point of view and say that social closes the loop

John Batistich. Search at start, social closes the loop

I think that social is the validation point. Early or late in the decision process, depends on your brand and your audience behavior. That’s for each marketing team to analyze and understand. Combine your search and social media activity with one goal in mind: accelerating the purchase decision.

I might finish by pushing the envelope a bit further… Where is this all going?

If you look at how Facebook and Google but also Amazon and eBay have been using behavioural data to surface relevant content (and products). Combine this with the rapid evolution of connected devices, which bring applications like natural language recognition (Siri being one of the best example so far), and how social media is becoming more sophisticated by including geo location as well as rich media interactions… this all points to predictive solutions. It’s not long until our devices, networks or apps will provide us with the information we are seeking before are even asking for it…

I will finish by pointing you to an article on the SMH about Google Star Trek computer

Marie Sornin