Google CEO Hints at Set-Top Box TV Ad Plan

Google CEO Eric Schmidt hinted during the company's Q4 2006 conference call yesterday that Google would enter the television advertising market via software on set-top boxes.

"There are many reasons to believe that the targeting technology that we have invented can really apply well, that people will pay -- advertisers in particular will pay much higher rates for ads that are targeted than ones that are untargeted," Schmidt said in response to a question about whether Google is interested in the TV advertising market.

"So for example, set-top boxes can help you target to end users and the set-top boxes are now IP-addressable. So there's a lot of evidence that as we link our systems into the systems of people who are operators, we can get another leg up on targeting and ultimately provide both a more useful advertising experience for the end user and also a better advertising experience for the advertiser themselves in terms of conversion."

A full transcript from the call is available at Seeking Alpha.

This is not the first time that Google execs have expressed interest in the television ad market. Last year, Google Vice President Marissa Mayer told broadcast executives at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that networks should consider Google a friend, not an enemy, of networks and content producers.

Google's first foray into the television market, which involved paid TV program downloads only at Google Video, met with disappointment.

More recently, the idea of Google TV was the subject of an elaborate hoax on YouTube.