Friday, July 30, 2004

Interesting tidbits from the transcript on the only recently available IPO site on Google.

Larry Page (Founder) on search:
    You can find a lot of things you're interested in using Google, but we hope to make it much, much better over time, and to really understand the query that you type, to really understand all the information that's available, and while there's a lot of information on the web, not all the information in the world is currently on the web, and so making more information available, understanding it better, understanding what you want better, are all important goals for us ... You'll have an easier time finding the information you're interested in.

Eric Schmidt (CEO) on Adwords:
    Through Google AdWords, advertisers are able to deliver relevant ads cost-effectively to Internet users. The businesses these advertisers are building with Google, as a result of effective targeting, are changing the way advertising works and the way advertisers approach their markets. For example, we don't help advertisers find 24 to 36 year old males. Instead, we help them find consumers interested in purchasing flat panel televisions.

    Unlike the earlier Internet advertising efforts, we didn't just show any ad along with the search. We used special technology invented by Google, to take a search term and figure out which ads were most likely to be relevant. Whereas people tend to ignore untargeted ads, we found that people actually like these ads because they provide additional, relevant information ... That's really the secret of why the model has worked so well for us. We found a way to make advertising useful, not annoying.

George Reyes (CFO) on AdSense:
    AdSense for content focuses on serving targeted and relevant ads based upon the content that the user is reading. Similar to AdSense for search, we get paid each time a user clicks on an ad, and we share the majority of that revenue with our advertising network member. Our AdSense program has become our largest source of revenue, generating about 50% of our revenues through the first half of 2004, up from 24% in 2002.

To summarize, Larry says search is all about relevance (understanding the query and the data to help you find what you need). Eric says advertising is all about relevance (that advertising should be useful and relevant, not obtrusive and annoying). And George confirms my prediction that AdSense (ads placed on other websites) is the key to Google's revenue growth.

So, where does personalization fit into all this? Personalization is all about relevance, recognizing that what is relevant to me isn't the same thing that is relevant to everyone else. If Larry and Eric want relevance, they'll be looking to personalization.

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