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Google Fiber, GoogleTV ads, and the beginning of Madison Avenue's end

Published: October 15, 2012

Author: Michael Yates

Today’s post is by Michael Yates, Account Associate and resident deep thinker. When he isn’t buried in client data, Michael spends his time reading global and science news and learning new ways to cook legumes.
Can’t see traditional TV from this high-level view.
First, there was print. Then, there was Google.
Mass production of information has become something that we have taken for granted in our industry’s space. The largest player in the game became so not through consumption of information but the replication of it. When your engine knows everything and can sell anything to anyone using a device spawned from the churn of consumer electronics, where do you go next?
Naturally, as news articles develop around new products within the online advertising industry, everyone makes their various prognostications for the future. Some are landing in the distant fields of aborted ideas and Google Wave; others are becoming more than leaves at the bottom of the blogging cup.
google tvWith the sunset of GoogleTV at the end of this year, it would be a natural conclusion that Google has given up on television, television branding, and continual data streams. Initially, I believed that this news had struck this blog post a fatal blow before it had even began. This was a point of internal contention until I took a step back and discovered that Google had circled around and met me at the same destination.
The death of GoogleTV wasn’t a folding of the cards; it was one of the biggest plays to rocket advertising forward coming down the pipe.
GoogleTV played in the ecosystem dominated by current content distribution models. Regulations had to be followed, deals had to be struck, and hands had to be shook before Google could start placing overlays on our nightly news. I’m not a member of the board, but I can imagine that Google has begun to feel as though it should start making the rules instead of following them. The statement released concerning the end of GoogleTV should be all the hint one needs that the plans are about to materialize.
Google has a history of creating applications and experiences that look back on old ideas and update them for the modern age. Cartography, social interaction, hangouts and performances, and of course research have all been irreversibly changed by Google’s touch. A curious exception is television.  GoogleTV was an attempt to break out into a space being dominated by others. While I do not believe that Google was defeated, I think that the entire process has become too slow for Google to spend resources on a system they do not control.
Within the Google advertising ecosystem, products are continually being rolled out to support imagery and saturation of branding initiatives. The pushes for mobile display advertising and second-screen support are indicative of this. More so, YouTube’s development into a branding platform above a direct response channel plants us firmly into the realm that the networks play in. The difference is, Google controls the YouTube ecosystem. Google can, and will, teach a thing or two to the traditional networks.
I imagine that the advertising brain trust within Google looked at the massive amounts of data they control as a square peg being shoved into the round hole of traditional media. The infiltration was a slow process that in the end proved fruitless – except it may have created the onus to double down on the digital ocean we live in and they had a hand in creating.
google fiber futureThe pairing of Google laying down fiber in Kansas City to boost their internet access to amazing levels with their shift away from playing television’s established game couldn’t be more perfect. Both are tests of Google’s capability to become more than data collectors and analysts. If GoogleFiber spreads, it will have huge pipes of data to stream 24/7 digital content and channels to the homes of its subscribers.
These plans are slowly percolating pots towards a full replacement of traditional industries that, to be honest, paved the way for their own end. Google took a step back after the decision to shutter GoogleTV and saw that it needed to become bigger than a partner in television marketing. It needed to replace the television with a stronger branding apparatus.
From the data mountaintop, Madison Avenue just looks too small.
– Michael Yates

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