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Google Ad Revolution Could Be Televised

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-10-31

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If the search engine company has its way, Madison and Vine executives would be replaced by a login to AdWords.

"In America, you watch television. In Soviet Russia, television watches you!"
-- Yakov Smirnoff, via Wikipedia.


Google wants to watch you watch television too, and deliver ads based on who is watching a given show instead of the one size fits all approach of high-priced advertising firms in New York.

In the New York Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt talked about the scattershot approach of TV ads, and how Google could improve on it:

"If we can figure out a way to improve the quality of ads on television with ads that have real value for end-users, we should do it," (Schmidt) said. While he is watching television, for example, "Why do I see women's clothing ads?" he said. "Why don't I see just men's clothing ads?"

BuzzMachine's Jeff Jarvis sums up all of Madison Avenue's fears in opposing the Google machine in the article. "For all of us to throw all our eggs in the Google basket is dangerous, because no one should have that much power," he said. The result would be a dramatic ad price drop because "Google commoditizes everything."

For the concept to work Google would have to go beyond its video search index to have all programming flow through it, pre-broadcast, so keywords can be picked out and pricing set in its AdWords service.

Then, Google would have to get access to TV viewers and their preferences, perhaps by purchasing TiVo and ramping up its partnership with Comcast to get into as many households as possible. Even with that, Schmidt's scenario of seeing advertising targeted to him would require the network "knowing" he's watching it at a given time.

The technologies for recognizing faces and matching the number of adults or children viewing an ad certainly exists. Whether people would accept that level of intrusiveness into their homes probably doesn't exist yet.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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