Google's Wireless Agenda

Often I write about Google Goodness, and then I go into the closet, slip on my tinfoil hat and my lead underwear (you should know that both protect against the surveillance gamma rays emanating from a laptop), and write about the possible negative implications about what they’re doing. If you can’t look at both up-n-downsides in a pragmatic and open way, then there’s no guidance as change accelerates and no assurance Google won’t inadvertently slip into doing evil.

According to this BusinessWeek article, Google is fighting-the-good-fight against wireless net neutrality to which I need to call bullsh*t to both Google’s counsel and BW itself:

Google’s agenda is clear. As a provider of a host of Internet services, including search, e-mail, and online video through YouTube (NWS), Google wants to ensure its content can flow unimpeded and untaxed over the world’s broadband networks. One way to do that is by making sure there’s plenty of competition in the market for high-speed Internet access, in particular, from providers other than behemoths like AT&T (T) and Comcast (CMCSA). “Google’s key interest here is in seeing fourth and fifth [broadband access] pipes to the home to compete with cable and telecom companies,” says Whitt.” (Richard Whitt is the former head of the regulatory department for MCI and is acting as Google’s Washington telecom and media counsel).

To me, their agenda is clear and it’s only marginally about the pipes or defending against the anti-net neutrality trolls. It’s all about selling ads.

Let’s follow the money. According to Google’s own annual report, “We derive most of our revenues from fees we receive from our advertisers through our AdWords and AdSense programs.” We knew that since many of us marvel at the amazingly-accelerating-revenues of the Google advertising machine. But if those ad dollars are tied only to our seeking behavior while performing a search — instead of when we’re doing email, reading a blog or site, collaborating on a document, looking up something on a map on our PC or handheld, roaming around with our smartphone or sitting in a cafe with Wifi or on a park bench with municipal wireless, etc. — then they’re inherently limited in top-line revenue to only search-centric, behaviorial advertising.

Google wants unfettered distribution via wireless networks and that’s one key part to the “Google Ads Everywhere” strategy too. But if *I* were in strategy sessions at Google, I’d be more interested in being able to deliver targeted ads to a specific person and their precise needs at every single touch point possible.

That’s the agenda kids.

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.


  1. These lead underwear sound like a great idea. Where can I buy a pair?

  2. Hi Steve,

    I have to agree, the last great search frontier is mobile, but why wait for the search, when not push out location based services based ON your search history and the myriad of other data that google has on us (analytics etc etc).

  3. Knowing what information you seek and consume tells Google a lot about you. Combined with knowing where you are, where you’ve been, and where your’re going certainly doesn’t hurt either. Google is your default search site – someday your default access network?

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