Google’s brand strategy used to be “organizing the world’s information” or putting the “world’s information one click away.” Larry Page, seeing that his market share slipped 1.2% last year has decided to change that. He’s renamed the search division the knowledge division. This, ironically, is the Microsoft Bing strategy – so eloquently presented in the “information overload” campaign developed by JWT a couple of years ago. The difference between “information” and “knowledge” being that the latter takes you closer to a decision — closer to a sale. This is a mistake. The strategy did not move the market significantly for Bing and won’t for Google. Google needs to stick to owning search and leave our brains to us.
What has disrupted search on the web is the smart phone. (See cover story in the NYT today for excellent piece on this.) Mobile phones are not built for full screen search, so app developers and VCs have set their sights on specialized, robust search and retrieve mobile experiences that remove the chaff and get us to information right away. These apps, by specializing and using geo-location, trump Google and search on mobiles. They are hot — but proper monetization still isn’t happening. Ads on mobiles are still cave art.
Let’s solve the mobile ad thing by 2015. Any ideas? Peace.