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How Google makes money from mobile products

The Google Mobile Product Report Card
Mobile Advertising
Google Adwords: A
Location Extensions: B+
Call Extensions: A
Google Offers: C
Google Admob: B+

Killer Mobile Apps
Google Maps: A+
Google Now: A-
Google+ Local: A-
Google Play Books: C+
Google Wallet: B
Google Voice: B
Google Shopper: B+
Google Goggles: A

Mobile Devices
Android: A+
Motorola: C+
Chrome(mobile): A
Google Class: TBD

Mobile Content
YouTube: A+
Google Play: B+

* Grades are based on quality, market adoption, value to users, value to marketers, originality, and other factors.

Mobile Advertising

Google AdWords
Google AdWords is Google’s online ad servicing platform used by millions of advertisers worldwide.
How users use it: Users click on ads that are relevant to their searches.
How it makes Google money: New Enhanced Campaigns make it easier than ever to create and manage mobile-optimized advertising strategies.
Grade: A
AdWords provides powerful mobile targeting options and ROI reporting tools.

Location Extensions
Google’s location extension ad feature lets AdWords users add a business address, phone number and map to advertisements.
How users use it: Users get the information they really need from the ad – location is key for mobile users on the move, so the map extension feature makes it easy to see just how close a nearby business is.
How it makes Google money: Location extensions are great for mobile ads and are likely to improve CTRs, especially when combined with Clock-to-Call.
Grade: B
A solid ad extension that makes the most of a searcher’s location to deliver the best possible ads.

Click-to-Call Extensions
The Click-to-Call feature is an ad extension that lets businesses add a clickable phone number to their ads on mobile devices.
How users use it: Click-to-Call lets mobile users call a business directly from its ad, making it easy to connect with businesses while on the go.
How it makes Google money: This ad feature improves clicks on mobile devices by an average of 6-8%. Mobile searchers are usually much further down the purchasing path and click-to-call lets advertisements meet the user’s need more efficiently.
Grade: A
Everybody wins here: Users get what they need as soon as possible and advertisers, especially local businesses, get better results.

Google Offers
Mobile discounts that can be redeemed at brick and mortar stores or online.
How users use it: Google’s answer to Groupon, Living Social and Amazon Local deals. Google offers emphasizes with which offers can be redeemed on a mobile device.
How it makes Google money: Businesses posting an offer through Google must pay the toll, as with other deal sites. For advertisements, there is risk involved. Deal sites raise brand awareness, but can bring swarms of one-time customers that put the unprepared out of business.
Grade: C
Google Offers is fairly unremarkable, existing comfortably in the mold set by preceding deal site. Will new “Offer Ad Extensions” fare any better?

AdMob by Google
AdMob is Google’s mobile advertising platform specifically designed for mobile apps.
How users use it: AdMob is an annoyance for users, with constant ad interruptions during gameplay, but on the upside, it enables developers to offer games for free, letting them make revenue from advertisement instead.
How it makes Google money: Advertisers pay Google to use AdMob as a platform for promoting their app within other, existing apps. Alternatively, an app can generate revenue, even when it is free, by letting other apps advertise in-game. Either way Google takes a cut.
Grade: B+
AdMob was created fairly recently to monetize the mobile app industry and it does its job well.

Killer Mobile Apps

Google Maps
Google Maps continues to set the gold standard for map/GPS apps. Smooth, fast directions for driving, public transport or foot.
How users use it: For driving, works as well (if not better) than a GPS device. Google Maps can search for nearby businesses and also offers indoor maps, 3D maps and street view. Some maps can even be downloaded for offline use.
How it makes Google money: Location is core to providing a great experience, including geo-targeting of ads. 1 in 4 Google searches are related to location.
Grade: A+
Google Maps continues to grow and develop. Google seems to understand that Maps is THE key aspect of mobile that holds supreme value.

Google Now
Google Now updates you on “what you need to know, right when you need it”, answering questions before you ask them.
How users use it: Customize your choice of “cards” and get Google updates for local weather, flight status, sports, subway times, your traffic commute, etc.
How it makes Google money: Google Now is completely ad free. But as a gateway to many local features like Hotels, Flights and Restaurants – can monetization be that far off?
Grade: A-
While still in its early stages, Google Now aims to be exactly what users dream a smartphone should be. With Siri-like voice what users commands and the card system that lets users customize updates, Google Now is a step in the right direction.

Google+ Local
Google+ Local lets you find nearby eateries, shops and entertainment that are highly rated using the Zaget system.
How users use it: When you are out and about and get a craving for grilled cheese, Google+ Local makes it easy to find the nearest, top-rated sandwich joint recommended by your trusted pals.
How it makes Google money: To increase your likelihood of appearing in the Google+ Local app, Be sure to fill out a Google Places profile. AdWords advertisers can also have ads appear with the Google+ Local app, just as with regular Google Search.
Grade: A-
The biggest thing that sets Google+ Local apart is easily seeing reviews from those in your Circles, but without that it’s really not much different from Yelp. Still, having Google+ Local combine best with Google Maps makes it easy to find the best spots near you.

Google Play Book
Google’s version of Kindle, Google Play Books let you read ebooks on your mobile device, offering New York Times bestsellers available for purchase, in addition to plenty of free reading material.
How users use it: Google Play Books has some nice features, like a built-in dictionary and the ability to sync your bookmarks across devices.
How it makes Google money: Not a lot of advertisers unless you’re interested in publicizing ebooks, in which case Google is entitled to a commission.
Grade: C+
Review are mixed. Nothing revolutionary and Kindle’s setup is more seamless and user-friendly.

Google Wallet
Google Wallet simplifies online and in-store shopping by letting you store your credit and debit cards on secure Google cloud servers. To make a purchase, simply tap your phone on an NFC (Near Field Communication) terminal at checkout.
How users use it: Google Wallet is paving the way for the future of card-less purchasing transactions. Don;t toss out your old wallet yet though – the concept of “cash only” still exists.
How it makes Google money: Google Wallet has an “Explore” tab that shows offers in the nearly area, leading more users to access Google Offers.
Grade: B
Great concept, but NFC still isn’t supported at many Stores. The Google Wallet app also isn’t supported across a whole lot of devices at the moment.

Google Voice
Google Voice is a great way to get more out of standard cumbersome voicemail.
How users use it: Users can make cheap international calls with a Google number, send free text messages, customize voicemail and read voicemail transcript rather than dialing in.
How it makes Google money: Some features like call forwarding and call recording require a paid account.
Grade: B
The free voicemail-to-transcript feature is especially handy.

Google Search App
Google Search made easy for mobile
How users use it: Use Google Search on-the-go with same ease of use as searching on a computer.
How it makes Google money: Making Google Search easily navigable over a mobile device means more ad impressions and clicks.
Grade: B+
Simple and solid.

Google Shopper
Google Shopper helps users find products and make purchasing decisions.
How users use it: Google Shopper recognizes products by cover art, barcode, voice and text search. In additional, users can compare brick-and-mortar vs. online prices, read reviews, see specs and video and more.
How it makes Google money: By controlling the shopping experience, Google can show ads to the right people at the right time.
Grade: B+
A solid price comparison app, with cool features built-in like a Shopping List and GoodGuide product ratings.

Google Goggles
Google Goggles is the beginning of visual search technology. With this image-recognition app, users can take a photo of a physical object and Google will try to find information about what is pictured.
How users use it: Take a photo of a landmark and Google Goggles can give you its history. Snap a pic of a foreign menu and it can be translated. Google Goggles can recognize and generate information on books, CDs, visually anything that is 2D.
How it makes Google money: It’s yet another way to generate Google searches and continue to build revenue with AdWords ads. Google Goggles’s product recognition navigates users to Google Shopping, which also costs money for advertisers.
Grade: A
This is very exciting technology. While currently resigned to 2D, the more this technology is developed, the better it will get.

Mobile Content

The world’s best video sharing website.
How users use it: 25% of traffic on YouTube comes from mobile devices. People watch one billion videos a day on YouTube mobile.
How it makes Google money:TrueView video ad format (which allows users to skip ads after 5 seconds) has boosted YouTube ad quality (and we assume pricing) dramatically.
Grade: A+
Nothing else even comes close.

Google Play
Google’s mobile app store for purchasing all your mobile goodies.
How user use it: Google Play combines apps, ebooks and music into a one-stop shop for all mobile devices. Purchases can be shared across devices.
How it makes Google money: Google Play generates revenue by serving as gatekeeper for app developers and ebook publishers looking to market their products.
Grade: B+
Google Play makes it easy to find anything and everything you might want on your phone, all in one central location.

Mobile Devices

Android is Google’s Livux-based, open source operating system for mobile devices. As for 2010, it is world’s most widely used smartphone platform.
How users use it: Android offers mobile device owners a “direct manipulation” interface to easily use their phones and its open source code and permissive licensing allow device manufacturers, wireless carriers and developers to customize and distribute the platform freely.
How it makes Google money: Google aims to provide amazing mobile browsing experiences while controlling the entry point to the mobile Web.
Grade: A+
Open, flexible and offers an awesome and fast experience for demanding mobile users.

Google bought Motorola in May 2012, coming Motorola’s existing mobile devices with Google’s Android software.
How users use it: The Google-Motorola tag team was meant to result in consumers getting the best of both worlds: great hardware devices packages with awesome Android software.
How it makes Google money: Google wanted Motorola mainly for patents, but under the FTC settlement Google must allow competitors access to those covered patents, which means Google is basically $12.5 billion.
Grade: C+
Google got pushed back in the ever-growing mobile patent wars, but not all is lost, especially with growing hype about Google’s iPhone-competing “X-Phone” on the horizon.

Google Chrome
Google Chrome is an Internet browser available for mobile devices to surf the web with ease.
How users use it: Chrome for Mobile lets users take advantage of Chrome’s best features, like tabs and incognito mode. User can also sync bookmarks across Chrome browser.
How it makes Google money: Google aims to provide amazing mobile browsing experiences while controlling the entry point to the mobile Web.
Grade: A
Google Chrome for Mobile makes web surfing on mobile devices more enjoyable.

Google Glass
Project Glass is Google’s research and development program to create augmented reality eyeglasses. They would work similar to a smartphone, accessing the internet by voice commands.
How users use it: Users would use augmented reality glasses just like they use a smartphone: to talk to friends, send messages, schedule events and reminders and video chat.
How it makes Google money: Following Google’s Project Glass promotion video, one video parody was made showing what it might look like with ads. Pretty scary stuff, but Google promises Project Glass will be Adwords-free.
Grade: TBD
Project Glass brings to life the wonderous imaginings of sci-fi flicks. The first set of these glasses, the Explore Edition units, are in the process of getting approved by the FCC, but they’ll be for developers’ eyes only.

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