On the Call: Google CEO Larry Page

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2012 10:02 PM
On the Call: Google CEO Larry Page

Google Inc.'s online advertising growth decelerated in the third quarter, renewing concerns about whether the Internet search leader might be getting hurt as more people surf the Web on smartphones and tablet computers instead of desktop and laptop machines. The shift is posing short-term problems because the smaller screens on mobile devices so far has translated into lower ad prices and fewer opportunities to show commercial messages than on traditional personal computers.

The challenge prompted an analyst to ask Google CEO Larry Page to address the topic Thursday during a conference call to discuss the company's third-quarter results. Page participated in the call, even though his voice remains raspy as he battles a mysterious throat ailment. The problem had caused Page to miss Google's second-quarter earnings call in July.

QUESTION: Mobile search is a really strong. What's happening with desktop searches? At some point it's probably reasonable to assume that they flat lined. Have we already reached that?

ANSWER: I guess I feel like you're asking the wrong question a little bit. I think we're really starting to live in the new reality, one where the ubiquity of the screens helps users really move from intent to action much faster and more seamlessly. I think this will create a huge new universe of opportunities for advertisers where they can focus on platform and focusing on platform-specific queries won't make as much sense because advertisers will be dynamically adapting across a whole bunch of different devices to reach the right audiences at the right time.

And that's kind of how we're thinking about it and I alluded to changes that will make to our ad system to improve the advertiser experience and the user experience around that. And I also think that we're just seeing tremendous growth in the Android, which really obviously we have tremendous ability to influence and to improve the user experience, to add location, to notify you of things, as I mentioned, around different noncommercial experiences. We can notify you of commercial experiences, as well. I think that's a really big and great opportunity for us.

I also said, that monetization on mobile queries right now is a significant fraction of desktop. So we're kind of living the best of both forms. We're able to move our existing ads and our existing monetization over to mobile, and we're also able to really innovate by using Android and our strength of adding ads on other mobile platforms, and really move advertisers and consumers into a new world. So we're more uniquely positioned to get through that transition and to really profit from it. So I'm just incredibly excited about that.