The future of mobile according to Google

Posted on 02. Mar, 2011 by in Stats & Trends, Thoughts



Over the last few months I’ve been fortunate to be able to attend two Google events. The first with Google @ Manchester and the second was Google’s Think Mobile event, based in Copenhagen (held at the beautiful Carlsberg Glyptotek – see the panoramic photo of the venue). At both events Google showcased their thoughts on Mobile, giving some clear insight into where they believe the future of Mobile is heading.

One of the key takeaway’s from the Copenhagen event was that Google truly believe that the smartphone is an enabling device – no - the enabling device of the future. Google truly believe that mobile devices will be the conduit to consumer ease in purchasing, price checking, marketing, monitoring of health, travel…. The list just goes on and on. In fact there are apps available on both Android and the Apple iOS that tick many of those boxes already.

Google like their big numbers, and these conferences were opportunities to see lots of them. Here’s a few of the most impressive;

  • Smartphone sales are expected to overtake PC sales by 2013.
  • 2010 saw 500M mobile internet users worldwide, 20M in the UK alone.
  • Of all the time spent accessing the internet, 23% of it is done on a mobile device.
  • YouTube mobile has 200M video playbacks each day worldwide.
  • Amazon.com have had $1 billion in sales via mobile commerce.

Google believe that mobile commerce is going to be a big deal. I think they are right. They often highlight that, in the UK only, between 2007-2011 there was a massive increase of 300% in the top 1000 commercial search queries – and an impressive growth of 400% YoY from 2009 into 2010.

It’s clear that with engagement growing at such a rapid rate, mobile is a channel that businesses should be considering as a part of their marketing mix. Google were at pains to iterate that companies need to be clear in their objectives and should understand the benefits of creating a mobile website vs. creating an app. The biggest reason companies fail at mobile is not having the clarity around what they are trying to achieve, and whether engagement with mobile is right for that business in the first place.

I find myself talking with clients more and more about their mobile strategies, and notice that many clients have a desire to do “something”. However, they struggle with what that “something” actually should be. Mobile engagement doesn’t need to be overly complicated; a mobile website can be developed with relative ease these days, as can engaging apps.

What is also clear is that Google have committed to keeping things simple, keeping mobile at the centre of its future growth plans, and that brands should be thinking about how they take advantage of the mobile space now.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, summed it up perfectly at the IAB’s Annual Leadership meeting this Sunday by saying; ”The technology has finally caught up with the promise we’ve talked about for sometime.” (Watch the full Keynote here)

I have to say, I wholeheartedly agree.

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  • http://twitter.com/nicolamore Nicola More

    Great piece Darcie – and I know what you mean about clients wanting “something”. I have a similar thing now where clients want their magazines to have some kind of online presence, but they’re not sure how. Trick is to avoid being gimmicky.

    BTW, would you be interested in cross-posting this stuff to 38minutes? You can add a link to this blog at the bottom and I’ll profile you as one of our featured bloggers, again linking over here. Let me know what you think! Nicola

  • Chris cathcart

    Hey Nicola,

    Thanks for the nice comments, I’m glad you liked the post.

    I think its becoming more important for us, as digital marketers, to make sure clients are lead in the right direction and that we share the questions they and their brand should be considering before moving on to developing anything in the mobile space.

    Its the old, but true, adage – Taking time to plan at the start of the campaign makes all the difference to its success in the long run.

    We’re interested to hear more about your cross-posting thoughts. Why not get me on twitter and we can talk over your ideas. You’ll get me at http://www.twitter.com/ChrisCathcart

    Chris