Dan Clays: Search will prove to be a mere foreword to the Google story

By Dan Clays, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 03 November 2011 08:00AM

It struck me on my trip to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, as part of the inaugural 360 Summit, that the second decade of the company is now three years in.

Dan Clays is the chief strategy officer at Arena Media

Dan Clays is the chief strategy officer at Arena Media

There is every chance that this next chapter of its journey could be equally exciting.

As you walk around its "Campus" - past the beach volleyball court and the gymnasium - you get a sense of serious energy and collective passion for what the future holds at Google. Facebook ambitiously talks about 1 per cent of the journey being done. I would imagine Google does not see a finishing line.

You quickly appreciate that under the chief executive, Larry Page, the arrogance that followed its early digital dominance has been replaced by a fresh sense of purpose. Of course, the rapid rise of Facebook and Twitter had something to do with the need for positive reaction.

Beyond the core search product, it is principally TV, social and mobile commerce where the most telling gains for Google will be made. Last week, Google announced the launch of more than 100 YouTube channels, and it has a clear and powerful strategy for integrating its product into how we watch "linear" (Google's word, not mine) TV. It talks of bringing the web seamlessly into the living room and, from what I saw, this will be a million miles from the interactive TV red-button experience multi-channel homes are familiar with.

By incorporating Android software into TV, the barriers of entry will effectively be removed for us to download high-quality, long-form content from completely new providers. The opportunities for brands are significant. If Nike is not thinking of a TV app for Google to create a dedicated sports content stream, it will be.

The social side of Google's future has been heavily maligned but, to my mind, appears promising. It had a very soft launch but still managed to frustrate 75 million people chomping at the bit to take part in Google's first meaningful response to Facebook and Twitter's exponential growth.

And, finally, mobile and the Google Wallet. This is where it became clear that how we shop on the high street and pay with handsets will fundamentally evolve in the next five years as Google builds what it calls the new mobile generation. Near field communication has been around for ten years but slow to take off through lack of agreement between hardware and carriers. Google will play a big role pushing usage towards critical mass by putting it at the heart of its mobile commerce strategy.

Which is a relatively dry way of saying that, before you know it, we will be walking into stores and taking it for granted that we can wave our phone to buy. And let's not be fooled that it means more data heading Google's way.

Dan Clays is the chief strategy officer at Arena Media

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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