Google is an advertising company. Their edge is granularity.We are all bombarded by advertising in our daily lives. Junk mail, ads in magazines, TV ads, it is all ineffective mass market noise pummeling us with things we don't want. It is a useless waste of time, a missed opportunity to capture a fleeting glimpse of my attention.
How often do you see an ad on TV for something you're currently in the market for? I'm guessing almost never. But imagine if everyone watching "American Idol" only saw ads for things they might really buy? Or, better yet, only saw ads for things they had already expressed an interest in? The value of those same 30-second commercial slots would increase by orders of magnitude.
Google imagines a world where only single people see match.com ads, and people who can't drive see ads from taxi companies where others see Toyota campaigns. Where fraternities see ads for strip clubs, beer, Cancun weekends and LSAT prep courses, and only seniors (and their adult children) see ads for Alzheimer's drugs.
What would be the value of that increased efficiency?
Advertising is content, potentially useful information about products and services. The advertisements we see should be useful and interesting, not annoying and irrelevant. Targeted to advertising to individual interests, personalizing advertising, can make advertisements helpful and relevant.
See also my previous posts, "Personalized TV advertising" and "Google wants to change advertising".
[Cringely article via Michael Bazeley]