22 May 2014

Google admits it wants to put ads on ‘fridges, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches’

smart refrigerator with Google ads
Google has admitted in an SEC filing that, in a few years, it “could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.” If you thought that Google’s recent forays into driverless cars, wearable computing, and smart homes were purely about creating awesome, life-enhancing products, you were mistaken: As always, Google has its ever-watchful eye on blanketing as much of the world as possible in targeted advertising.

This rather bold (and unexpected) admission comes from a formal response to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had asked Google to disclose how much money it makes from mobile devices. While Facebook and Twitter both provide per-platform breakdowns, Google doesn’t and that has the SEC miffed. According to Google, it doesn’t want to disclose how much revenue it makes from mobile because “the definition of ‘mobile’ [continues] to evolve as more and more ‘smart’ devices gain traction in the market.” The company lists off the types of devices that it could soon serve ads on “refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches” and then this final bit, just to hammer things home: “Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future.”

Ads on a smartwatch

While there was never really any doubt that Google had designs to put advertising on its new products remember, Google still derives some 91% of its revenue from advertising it’s still a little bit humbling to see its plans inscribed in an official document. I don’t know about you, but while it was fairly obvious that Google might one use Glass to display ads, I had never thought of advertising on car dashboards and thermostats. It starts to make terrifying sense if you think about it, though: Your car dashboard might flash up an ad for a special offer as you approach a service station, or your home’s thermostat might tell you about a cheap holiday to Florida when it detects a cold spell. Watch the fan-made video below for an example of what this “ADmented reality” might look like through Google Glass.

For Google, which has pretty much conquered the web and smartphones, there is now immense pressure to find new growth markets. Glass, its $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest, and the company’s continued work on its own self-driving cars and recent plans to put Android into other cars, are all sure signs that Google is looking everywhere for the next big thing. It’s unfair to say that Google is only interested in the advertising potential of these new markets Google does have the capability to produce compelling, consumer-oriented products but it’s clear that, at least for the foreseeable future, most of the company’s efforts will revolve around products with strong potential for monetization through ads.

Courtesy Extremetech


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