Highlights from Google’s Q&A with Investors

In a bid to better communicate with the investor community, Google held a Q&A session for investors and analysts yesterday. It was pretty much what you’d expect from an investor call, but from a marketing perspective, there were a few interesting tidbits to emerge.

* CEO Eric Schmidt, when asked to point to a recent initiative that disappointed him, picked the print advertising test. No surprise there, since results were reportedly disappointing.

But Google’s not giving up on print yet. Schmidt insisted that the plan could still work, if Google can work with magazine publishers to more closely integrate the ads with the content. He also said Google would try to get better ads from advertisers, which were more suited to the print presentation.

* An example Schmidt gave of something that has exceeded expectations was Google’s acquisition of Keyhole, which formed the backbone of Google Maps, and will enable advertising opportunities on that platform.

* Schmidt said Google has no plans for building its own Web browser to compete with Microsoft, but would continue working closely with Firefox and other browsers.

* The company plans to grow its customer base via partnerships, not mergers & acquisitions, according to Schmidt. Recently, the company has teamed up with AOL for ads, Dell for toolbar distribution, and Japan’s KDDI for getting Google search on mobile phones.

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