Android – Google’s best strategic move ever?
Android controls 70% of the Smartphone volumes in 2012. Over the last 4 years, ever since Google launched Android, this has been one huge success story. In this post, i am looking at the 3 factors that have fueled the Android’s success story. The success generated by Android is across three key levels – Present day revenues for Google,Access to mobility for Google and generating intelligence and information about the user – creating profile and semantic patterns which is the future of advertising as we know it.
While Google’s intent behind Android was such that it was not completely shut out of the mobile Internet by a dominant OS provider. The initial fears were around the dominance of Microsoft which in the post 2007-iPhone era came to be Apple. However, it just did better – it went on to become the dominant OS in Mobiles and handhelds itself.
We all know that Google makes almost all of its money on ad revenue – 94% of Google Q4 revenues were based on advertising. Of this $8bn was generated by mobile devices of which, analysts now expect $5bn of 2013 Google Ad revenue to be from tablets alone! That makes it seem like a pretty solid investment for Google to pay whatever it does to be the default search engine in iOS ($1 billion/annual), since the iPad still holds close to half of tablet sales.
Android is Google’s footprint on mobile- An Android device, properly signed into a Google account and running all the Google Apps, generates an endless stream of little bits of ‘signalling’ information, way beyond what Google gets from a desktop search user even if they’re using Chrome. It knows where the user lives and works, how he commutes – and which phone numbers on web ads he dials. All interactions with Search, Maps and anything else can be linked together. Android, allows Google to tie searches and advertising to individual people and places. In the long term, the data that Google gets from Android users is probably just as important as Pagerank in understanding intent and relevance in search. The real structural benefit to Google from Android now comes from the understanding it gives of actual users, and the threat comes from devices that do not provide this data.
It is quite possible that even Google didnot see the scale of success of Android – Not only did it mark Google’s entry on mobiles, it also is generating revenue and most valuable user information.