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Mobile First, Then AI, Then....Google?

Back in 2011 I was invited to Google's NYC office for a "Think with Google" event covering digital trends and innovation in the Retail vertical. Think with Google events focus on trends in advertising, new beta products in Google's pipeline and innovation happening within a specific vertical, "Think Retail, Think Finance, Think Health, Think Tech are all examples of themed educational events.

 
 

Those were my agency days where anyone who's worked in the digital space is familiar with Google's reputation for hosting industry events for agency partners and large advertisers (all self serving to educate on their products and lift ad spend across their platform of course, but at least they make it cool). Like very cool: Google's legendary cafeteria for lunch? Check. Gift bags with giveaways? Check. Well known guest speakers? Check. Free snacks all day? Check. Themed Happy Hour? C'mon. During one Think Retail event focused on e-commerce they were even thoughtful enough to serve their take on Thanksgiving dinner for lunch since busy Q4 was about to begin (those who work in e-commerce & retail rarely get to enjoy the holiday season like normal civilians).


One moment from that day in 2011 stuck with me since with distinct recall. Their VP of Product was on stage for a segment titled the future of mobile when he said the following:

"From this point forward, Google officially considers itself a Mobile First company."

Think about that statement for a moment. A company, whom that to that point generated 97% of its billions in revenue from search advertising on Google and YouTube (the other 3% from Android and other revenue streams), primarily from users still on desktop went on the record in front of it's largest advertisers and partners gathered in one room to draw a mobile line in the sand. This was Google's way of saying officially considered themselves a mobile first company at that point to get ahead of the imminent shift.

All of this came to mind when reading a line in a recent article titled Google's CEO Wants to Build a Personal Google for Every User.

"When I look ahead at where computing is headed, it’s clear to me that we’re moving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world" - Sundar Pichai

Consider the milestone changes Google implemented in the years following that statement in 2011:

  • Enhanced Campaigns (2013) - All advertises forced to spend the same on mobile users.

  • Mobilegeddon (2015) - Websites forced to be mobile optimized with the penalty of lost organic rankings (we've all been there)

Five years later Google is an AI first company. Time flies and so does Tech..

You can read the article at Business Insider Here

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