Sundar Pichai just hinted at how Google will make money from maps, and it sounds like lots of ads (GOOG, GOOGL)

Sundar Pichai just hinted at how Google will make money from maps, and it sounds like lots of ads (GOOG, GOOGL)

Google Maps is one of the company’s most popular services, but when it comes to bringing in revenue, Maps is not pulling its weight. 

That’s by design — Google admits it has been slow to monetize the app.

“We take a long term view,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai told a Wall Street analyst who inquired about potential plans to turn Maps into a more significant moneymaker during the company’s Q1 earnings call on Thursday

Pichai noted that Maps was still seeing strong user growth, even years after its initial launch, thanks to the spread of smartphones in emerging markets. Maps is “an integral” part of the mobile phone, he noted. And with the rise of new technologies like augmented reality, which overlays digital images onto the real world, maps will play a bigger role, he said.

So what about the money?

Pichai didn’t provide an explicit answer about plans for monetizing maps, but his comments give a pretty good sense of what the company might have in mind:

“I’m sure you have noticed changes in Google Maps with the last few months. If you open Google Maps, you’re traveling or out on a Friday evening, we start surfacing a lot more info about what you can do, places to eat and so on. So those are beginning to get good feedback from users and I think that gives us an opportunity to add value there overtime as well.”

The two key terms here are “good feedback” and “add value.” That’s the core philosophy behind all of Google’s advertising business. 

Google loves to talk about how its ads are actually useful to consumers rather than annoying distractions. In the case of search ads, that attitude has helped build a company valued at $610 billion. 

So if Google believes its Maps users are already enjoying getting recommendations about nearby restaurants and attractions in the app, it’s probably only a matter of time before Google gives businesses the “opportunity” to participate as well. 

No one wants their phone to be bombarded with unsolicited and intrusive coupons and promotional offers for every retail store they walk past on the street. But if you’re already searching and exploring for nearby places in the Maps app, Google could easily toss in a few promoted places or coupons to its current recommendations — or turn it into an ad platform of its own.

Pichai’s comments show the company clearly sees a place for ads in Maps. It’s just a question of when Google is ready to flip the switch.

SEE ALSO: Uber’s self-driving car boss, Anthony Levandowski, is stepping aside amid legal fight with Waymo

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Google, the world’s top advertising company, is building an ad blocker for Chrome

Google, the world’s top advertising company, is building an ad blocker for Chrome

Google, the internet’s biggest advertising company, may be building an ad blocker.

The search giant plans to roll out a feature in the next mobile version of its Chrome browser that would filter out certain types of ads, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. 

Such a tool seems at odds with the company’s primary revenue source, but Google thinks that it could actually deter people from resorting to other blockers in the long run, according to the report.

By targeting only the most disruptive ad formats — pop-ups, interstitials, and autoplay videos, for instance — the hope is that less people will be driven to third-party software. Google already ostensibly bans many of these types of ads anyway. Read more…

More about Advertising, Ad Blocking, Google Chrome, Google, and Business

Russian Android users will now be able to choose between Google and Yandex

Russian Android users will now be able to choose between Google and Yandex

As part of Google’s ongoing dispute with Russian antitrust officials, Google has agreed to no longer require its apps be pre-installed on Android for access to the Google Play Store.

The post Russian Android users will now be able to choose between Google and Yandex appeared first on Digital Trends.

Google buckles under pressure from Russia, will open Android to other search engines

Google buckles under pressure from Russia, will open Android to other search engines

Android, often seen as the much more open and flexible mobile operating system alternative to Apple’s notoriously strict iOS, is now being forced to open up even more, at least in Russia. A lengthy battle between Google and Russian anti-competition watchdog group FAS began two years ago has finally culminated in Google relenting. The company will loosen restrictions on Android’s built-in search engines to allow for Russian competitors a share of the pie.

Android’s heavy reliance on Google services is to be expected, but in 2015 the Russian antitrust group — officially the Federal Antimonopoly Service — ruled that Google was breaking the law by forcing users to lean on Google for search. The ruling was the result of a complaint filed by Yandex, a Russian competitor to Google that runs the largest search engine in the country as well as web mail, news, maps, and other services.
Google’s settlement of the issue comes with the condition that Android will no longer lock down the search engine to Google, and must allow users the ability to change it if they want from within the Chrome web browser. Google will also loosen its exclusivity of the default apps on Android devices sold in Russia, potentially allowing for Yandex and other regional competitors to muscle in and replace the built-in apps with their own versions, depending on user preference. Reuters reports that the agreement will remain valid for at least six year and nine months, and the settlement will still cost Google a whopping $7.85 million in various fines.