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Q2-09 Call: Google On Mobile Search; Bing; YouTube Pre-Rolls, Monetization; Power Seach Users


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We updated this post live, listening in on the Google Q2-09 Conference Call. Questions in italics.

Advertising

— Advertisers are not as uncertain anymore. Smaller advertisers have stayed consistent because of the benefits of return on investment on search. Bigger adverThe big advertisers stayed away for a bit but are back now.
— In Adsense for content, We saw solid results. Smaller partners performed well.
— We are seeing different means of monetization coming through: we’re beginning to see more branded advertising on YouTube and our display properties.
— The way to look at display for us is to look at multiple strands. We’ve made progress with the doubleclick ad exchange, having integrated that with Adsense. We’re going to see tremendous growth in the display space.
— On Google.com, Shopping and Computer Electronics verticals did well, but Finance was weak.
— Most of our advertisers are not maxing out their daily budget. We’ve spent time convincing them that search is an ROI medium, and we can’t create inventory – users create the inventory.
— CPCs have been impacted by increase in queries from low CPC countries like Brazil and China. International mix has an impact on our CPC – Germany vs India, then there are the currency issues. CPC was down year on year, and there was seasonality on top of it.
— There is a mix of display and performance side in advertising, and people are focusing on the performance side right now. Some advertisers are finding that display is a great complement to search. I think there’s a positive dynamic between the two. Advertisers who use search and haven’t utilized their budget entirely tend to spend on display.
— Google properties ahve driven most of the growth. AdSense properties have grown, but slower.

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Focus On Power Users On Search

— Got more focused on active power users, who are typing longer queries and their expectations are greater than before. To serve power users, we launched options to allow users to slice and dice search results. We have a basic user principle that fast is better than slow. we’re looking to reduce latency, and launched improvements for Picasa
— We’ve had some success with local information, by determining where the user is. The search result innovations have been outpacing the innovations on the ad side. We’re going to push ahead with products that are good for the user on the search side.

YouTube

YouTube is now on a trajectory we’re very pleased with. Monetization views have triples in the last year. We’re monetizing billions of views now. We’re promoting feature partner videos. (Nikesh) YouTube homepage is of relevance and has established itself in the eyes of advertisers. Next move is towards long form video and pre-rolls. By bringing premium content to the home page, we drive views to premium content that increases inventory. Users are beginning to accept pre-rolls on premium content, and we dont see significant drop-off rates.

— It’s not our focus to monetize non-professional content. The non-professional content has relatively lower views. You can tell a professional quality video from a non-professional one. We don’t just mean large studios, but also smaller professional studios producing monetizable content.

– Pre-roll the key monetization method for YouTube? There are four main user activities on the site. They come to the home page, search for videos, watch videos and then interact with other users. Each activity will have a different monetization, form of advertising. The big inventory is in the watch pages. We’re trying to figure out if overlays will work. We’re still testing these things. We’ve been testing pre-rolls for quite a while.

Mobile, Mobile Search And HTML 5

– Users on high end phones are engaged. so display advertising there.
– We’re bullish on HTML 5. It’s especially important in mobile. This quarter we launched mobile versions of gmail and maps. One of the key things we’ve done is show desktop ads on mobile browsers of high quality. All of a sudden, we started seeing high searches and clickthrough rates. It makes sense over time, that search will perform better on mobile than PC, because we know more about the person. Mobile search tends to complement desktop volume, since people search from mobile when they’re away.
— 18-20 android phones will be out by the end of the year.
– Mobile search in the US has improved significantly, because of availability of phones with good browsers. Mobile search was pretty high in Indonesia and the Middle East, but we’re seeing it grow overall.
— The adoption of high end devices – the gphones, the iphone, they have a living on the web experience. there’s a fundamental trend that is happening there. there’s a whole ecosystem that is building right now.

Bing

How worried are you about search competitors (read: Bing)?
We haven’t seen any shift in search today.
Your take on bing? You think you should blend vertical search with search?
There’s an opportunity to do a much better job with finance search, and other verticals like shopping.
Gmail

“We are pushing out one new feature a week, like automatic message translation. Try that, it’s a big deal. We took quite a few of our products out of beta last week. All of them are relatively stable.”

Chrome OS

The Chrome OS will be available to the PC community at the end of next year. Other aspects of our strategy still have to be worked oout. The primary focus will be speed, speed of computation and use, and focus on the web. It’s open source, so it’s possible for people to just take it and do whatever they want with it. There may be other ways of making money from it, but we don’t plan to charge for it.

Google Wave

We want to make the web better – what is good for the web, is good for Google. we asked the question -what if email was invented today, and the answer is wave. The product was conceived in Australia.

War of Attrition? Collapsing The Industry?

Business Model for App Engine? Isn’t the competition with Microsoft is competition? looks like a war of attrition, where you’re just giving up for free. Instead of growing the industry, you’re collapsing the industry. Our data points say that Android hasn’t been successful.

With the App Engine, there are opportunities for licensing models, but we’re confident that with the functionality, where they are running search both on internal and external information, and the more people spend time on the web, the more they search. We’re confident that in the long run it is positive for us. We’re trying to make connectivity pervasive. The adroid has is successful, and we’re optimistic that it’s going to make for an exciting and richer web.

Other Comments

– Disciplined about costs, but looking to invest in our big long term opportunities including display and mobile.
— Android, Wave, Chrome and Chrome OS are all open source. the more power tools we put in developrs hands, the more development we will see on the web, which grows the pie for everyone.
— Paid storage is not a significant portion of our revenues

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