"Didn't You Used To Be A Search Engine?" - Jitka Petrickova-MEC
Published: February 28, 2012 at 03:44 PM GMT
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Last Updated: February 29, 2012 at 03:44 PM GMT
By Jitka Petrickova
Welcome Jitka Petrickova, our newest MediaBizBlogger.
Remember when Google used to be just a search engine? That seems almost quaint now, as over the last few years, and especially in 2011, Google made significant investments to continue its expansion beyond search and into mobile, social, products and patents in efforts to fight off competitive action from its rivals (and regain its position as the top online destination). And now with EU and US approval to complete its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, it looks like Google is in a prime position to compete head-to-head with rival Apple. Google remained true to their strategy of simplicity in 2011. Larry Page thinks about their products in three separate categories: 1. Search and Ad Business, 2. YouTube, Android and Chrome as products enjoying high consumer success and 3. new products which are reshaping the digital landscape including Google+.
While search and ads continue to be the core revenue driver, Google's Chrome browser enjoyed 84% year-on-year growth in 2011, driving many more users to Google products and ads. Both Gmail and YouTube consumer experiences were improved, creating compelling destinations for users, and the company ended the year announcing their next steps in a determined shift to quality, long-form content with the announcement of the YouTube Original Content initiative.
The biggest – and potentially most controversial – splash however was made with the launch of Google+, a social product to compete with Facebook, which also experienced rapid growth to 49 million* users by the end of the year with an ambition to reach 400 million users by the end of 2012. The expected deep integration of Google+ with search and other products will undoubtedly cause more controversy in 2012, but is key to Google's strategy moving forward.
In 2011, Android OS celebrated its ten billionth Android app download and the Android Market jumped in four months from 300,000 to 400,000 apps, compared to the seven months it took to Apple. Google protected and added flexibility to Android by buying thousands of patents from IBM and attempting to acquire Motorola Mobility (a move that may also help the digital giant control its own destiny when it comes to mobile payments and wallets). Google also zeroed in on local, evolving its maps and offers products as well as acquiring Zagat. Users can now find detailed information, directions, links to review and more for millions of local queries like shops, restaurants, parks and landmarks on both the web and mobile. With the above funnels in place, 155 million people find themselves on Google each month and 140 million watch YouTube videos each month (according to Quantcast). Google's transformation from search engine to destination with a potential to optimize users experience across all channels is well underway.
Jitka Petrickova joined MEC in August 2011. Her responsibilities include leading the application of new digital strategic approaches, consumer insights, tools and digital technologies across the agency’s client base. She serves as a digital partner to the management teams for MEC on the West Coast. Jitka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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