Google’s Multimedia Ambitions

Google has been quietly testing ways of selling video ads and has been experimenting with ads in its mobile services around the world, the company’s Chairman and CEO, Eric Schmidt, revealed at a press event at its headquarters Wednesday.

Schmidt’s comments at the event provided some insight into the search giant’s ambitions to apply its technology and systems to brokering advertising on media other than the Web. Industry watchers speculating about Google’s plans have been fueled by the company’s purchase of dMarc Broadcasting and its tests in selling print advertising.

“Google tests everything,” Schmidt said, cautioning reporters not to read too much into its dabbling in video in particular. Schmidt hinted any future video advertising product from Google would most likely work with Internet-based television rather than broadcast TV. Were it to enter into the traditional TV environment, he said, Google would have to come up with a metrics-based approach that drastically improved the current state of affairs in TV advertising.

“There’ve been no fundamentally new breakthroughs in the TV world since color in the 1960s, other than maybe TiVo,” he said, adding the company didn’t yet know whether it was possible to develop a product to sufficiently advance media buying in TV. “There may be one, there may not be one.”

Schmidt said the company visualized a future in which an advertiser could upload a text ad and an audio creative and have them distributed on a variety of platforms based on Google’s targeting criteria. He was bullish about the company’s purchase of dMarc Broadcasting, saying it looked like the radio business would be “a success” for Google. As for print, SVP of product management Jonathan Rosenberg said the company’s tests have shown such a product would most likely be successful in niche trade publications, rather than with mass market magazines.

CEO Schmidt seemed most excited about the possibilities for the mobile channel, perhaps because it’s so much further developed in international markets. The company began by testing mobile ads in Japan, Schmidt said, and found response rates were similar to what the company sees for Web ads. Those tests have since been expanded worldwide.

Note: The ClickZ News Blog has more information on products Google introduced yesterday including Google Notebook, Google Trends, Google Desktop 4, and Google Co-op.

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