Google eBooks, Google TV and perhaps even Google Music could form the bedrock of a great, ad-supported media cloud, analysts from Gartner and Forrester Research believe.
Analysts believe Google's eBooks service could shake up the market Amazon
and others have cultivated if Google chooses to create an ad-supported media
cloud storefront where consumers procure TV, books and eventually music.
Google eBooks and the corresponding eBookstore launched
Dec. 6 to let consumers search for and access more
than 2 million public domain books for free, or purchase any of hundreds of
thousands of titles from 4,000-plus publishers.
Out of the gate, that's more than 3 million paid and free titles to users
via the search engine's cloud computing model, accessible via any computer and
via apps created for Android and Apple smartphones and tablets.
Gartner analyst Allen Weiner said Google's eBooks model is a big deal
because it creates a gateway to make the company the first true "media in
the cloud" provider.
He envisions that, paired with Google TV's
ability to let users consume Netflix and
other Web apps from their TVs, Google has a powerful advertising platform to
wield against Amazon, Apple and others eyeing Web-delivered media.
"Add in the purchase of Widevine
(multiplatform DRM and content optimization
platform) and you see the formation of two content services with the ability to
share customer behavioral information, advertising targeting and a device
agnostic distribution engine," Weiner said in a Dec. 6 blog post
On the Google TV connection, he surmised that a book purchased by a consumer
on the wine regions of France
could trigger a related TV clip pushed to a user via Google TV, paired with
"User behavior data collected and collated across Google's content
services and Google's search engine creates a scary scenario of cross-media
dominance," Weiner said.
"It can be profitable to sell a consumer a TV set or e-reader, but far
more profitable to have that device owner come back and use your storefront as
a content hub."
Curbing the enthusiasm somewhat, Google eBooks Product Management Director
Scott Dougall told eWEEK Google has no plans to run ads with eBooks. Still,
Weiner is not alone in believing the company has a powerful ad platform on its
hands with eBooks.
Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey wrote in his own speculative blog post
Dec. 6 that Google eBooks should be used to create an
ad-supported publishing model.
In McQuivey's scenario, a user stumbles upon a new book recommended by Facebook
friends. Instead of a limited free trial of a few chapters, Google could offer
an ad-supported read of the book.
"As you read, the meter starts ticking and revenue accrues directly to
the publisher and author. If you don't like the ads, you can buy the book at
any time to remove them," he explained.
"But, even if you choose to read the whole thing without buying it,
it's an easy thing for Google to figure out how many ads you have to see for it
to generate enough revenue to replace the cost of buying the digital
These ads can be split with ad-supporting publishers via Google's AdWords
model. Everybody wins.
Moreover, Google is expected to add a digital music service
to its arsenal in 2011, providing a
three-pronged media cloud attack of Google eBooks, Google TV and Google Music