What do AllThingsDigital's Walt Mossberg, David Pogue of The New York Times, eWEEK's own Andrew Garcia and Google co-founder Sergey Brin have in common?
They all offered reviews of the T-Mobile G1, the first smart phone based on Google's Android mobile operating system.
Brin's review came during Google's Q3 third quarter earnings call and he deftly eased into an Android phone pitch Oct. 16. Brin told financial analysts and journalists on the Q3 call:
OK, so Brin's review was skimpy, particularly when you compare it to the way Mossberg, Pogue and Garcia put the G1 gadget through the ringer yesterday. But you have to admire Brin's sales chops, telling people first how well the G1 suited his needs, and then promising more phones will be on the way to meet other users' needs. Brin also used his time to tout Google's Chrome Web browser, which enjoyed a meteoric rise for a week or two after its Sept. 1 launch, but has faded to only about a 1.5 percent adoption rate according to GetClicky.
Brin's spiel was one of the more interesting happenings during a very business-as-usual conference call for Google, which enjoyed a 26 percent profit hike and reported sound advertising sales even as we slide deeper into a recession.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt stopped short of calling Google recession-proof, but noted that Google's search ad business and immense Web presence bolster the search engine giant's position in a volatile market:
At least Schmidt is now acknowledging the financial crisis instead of taking the "what, me worry?" stance. Moreover, it's hard to argue with his logic about the Internet. People aren't going to stop using the Internet.
Schmidt is fond of saying that cost-conscious consumers will try to bargain shop online, availing themselves to more Google search ads, boosting Google's core business.
I agree, but I also submit that if we begin to see a lot of layoffs, in high-tech and other vertical markets, more people will flock online to peruse every job site imaginable. Advertising on Monster and other sites will skyrocket and Google will continue to profit from search keyword ad sales.
What is less clear is how the economy will impact display advertising, a segment Yahoo leads and an area Google is trying to improve through its DoubleClick and YouTube acquisitions. Brin said on the call that targeting, or reaching the right people, will be the key for display ads going forward.
"We still see this as an area that is ripe for development and innovation, and we think that we can continue to create great tools for display," Brin said. This, he added, includes AdSense for games, feeds and video.
Google needs to put all these display ad buckets together and show us how they work.