Google reiterated its commitment to the mobile platform today as it entertained advertisers and agency representatives at its New York office.
The event, dubbed ThinkMobile, saw Google executives and mobile industry players take to the stage for an afternoon of presentations around the growth and potential of the mobile platform, including mobile advertising.
During their presentations Google executives took the opportunity to state – on numerous occasions – that mobile is now very much at the forefront of the company’s thinking, owing in part to the proliferation of smartphone devices over the past 12 months and the success of its Android mobile operating system.
“To have a group like this in a room is something I don’t think we could have done a year ago,” said Jason Spero, director of mobile at Google, adding, “For Google mobile is a priority. It’s something that comes from Eric [Schmidt] at the top.”
Despite Google’s own ambitions in the mobile ad space, the event focused on the mobile platform more widely, offering advice and discussion about the future potential of the medium for brands and marketers.
“We believe mobile technology will create the largest technology market ever,” said Dennis Woodside, Google’s vice president, Americas, predicting, “It will dwarf the PC and what the PC has done.”
According to Woodside, searches on Google.com from mobile devices have increased 400 percent over the past year, and over 300,000 handsets running the company’s mobile operating system are being activated daily in the U.S. “Google’s approach is mobile first,” he repeated, adding “Eric felt passionately about this two or three years ago. Every product we create now has to be fully optimized for mobile environment.”
Highlighting the increasing importance of a well-executed mobile presence for brands, Woodside put forward examples of recent search trends from mobile devices. Searches for GoDaddy, for instance, rose 300 percent during the minute after its Super Bowl TV ad aired on Sunday, he said.
Woodside suggested most brands don’t dedicate sufficient resources to mobile, and that they’re missing opportunities. “Typically in most businesses, mobile is 10 percent of the digital marketing or Web team. If you’re in retail and you’re thinking of it that way, the risk is this wave is going to crest over you,” he said, adding, “It has to be more than 10 percent.”
As well as the attendees in the room the event was streamed live to 10 Google offices, and 5,000 viewers via YouTube.
Ironically the event coincided with the launch of Apple’s iPhone on the Verizon network today. That deal will likely boost the reach of the iOS operating system – the major competitor to Google’s Android platform in the smartphone race.