Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Google of Mobile

Today I read an interview with Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google) on the Frankfurter Allgemeine (do not worry, it is not in German...). CEOs of US companies tend to say more when they speak with foreigner reporters, I am not sure why... Therefore, the interview is very interesting and a recommended read.

One statement from Eric pops up in the interview:
"mobile will be a larger business than the PC-Web"
Now, I am definitely having a hard time disagreeing with him ;-)

However, as Matt wrote, Google is not exactly leading in mobile. Android is a nice thing but it is not even available yet. Apple is way ahead of them, with a proven model (and getting a bit more open every month). Nokia is light years up in front. Even poor Yahoo is leading them...

Beside catching up, I feel there is an intrinsic difference between PC-Web and mobile, that puts Google in a tough spot: the mobile phone is a communication device. It is meant to communicate, not browse. With voice or data.

The leading data application on a mobile phone is and will be the messaging client. SMS, texting, email, IM, social communications. The browser is not going to be even close. And Google built its entire business on browsing.

How do you monetize mobile messaging? With advertising (and on this Google is strong).

However, for Google to dominate in mobile, they have to find a way to dominate in messaging (not in browsing). Gmail is not the way, in my opinion. Check the amount of users on Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. Numbers are secret but rumors say that the first two run in the hundreds of millions, the last one in the lower tens of millions (only geeks use Gmail... How many of us do you think there are out there? Thank God, not that many ;-)

The Google of Mobile will come from mobile messaging, ad-based. Anyone comes to mind? Just kidding :-))