As Google continues to plumb the depths of the online advertising market for new revenue sources, many industry experts believe e-commerce-related sites will be a major area of attack for the company.
Gartner analyst Richard Hunter said as much at his company's Emerging Trends conference in April, noting that Google currently only sees roughly 1 percent of e-commerce traffic with its Checkout service. Hunter later clarified his point to eWEEK via e-mail.
"They don't necessarily want more e-commerce traffic themselves; what they want is to know what the traffic is, i.e. what is being bought and sold," Hunter said. By seeing that traffic, Google will better be able to target ads to consumers buying goods, and endear itself to the stores selling those goods.
With that logic, No. 1 e-commerce vendor Amazon.com would seem to be a slam dunk for Google, but Hunter noted that "it's an expensive and demanding way to get it." Indeed (exceptions YouTube and DoubleClick duly noted) buying a goliath such as Amazon.com does not mesh with Google's track record of buying smaller Web services and building them out.
So, where could Google turn to capture one of these commerce-driven vehicles in one fell swoop? Many experts believe Rearden Commerce would be the most logical choice. Rearden Commerce, easily a service ahead of its time when it launched in February 2005, makes a Web-based personal assistant application.
Your Own Personal Concierge
To many chief financial officers tired of wrangling deals out of travel agents that will serve their corporate users, the Rearden PA (Personal Assistant) is a godsend. Need a hotel? Rearden will crawl the Web and find it for you. Want to catch that red-eye from San Francisco to New York to get home to your family after a grueling business trip? Let Rearden be thy guide.
Corporate users who travel or make other business-related transactions can log onto what is essentially their own concierge and book flights, rental cars and hotels themselves with almost 100 percent accuracy. Users can also satisfy their dining and entertainment needs by booking restaurants and procuring sports, concert or theater tickets.
CFOs love it because the platform has built-in alerts to let them know what employees are abusing their corporate accounts.
The kind of control PA provides is liberating at a time when most corporate travel is not a single, smooth process, with separate vendors for air, hotel, cars, events and parking, Beagle Research Denis Pombriant analyst told eWEEK.
"With [Rearden Personal Assistant] you have the beginnings of an uber process manager-something that takes responsibility for the handoffs-and when and if you have a problem, a place to go to for repairs," Pombriant said. "So I think it's important, especially because the direction I am seeing travel moving in is of greater Balkanization of services and less accountability."