Google transforms approach

17 October 2011

MOUNTAIN VIEW: Google, the online giant, is hoping to "transform" the experience offered by its websites in a bid to build a closer relationship with web users.

On a conference call with investors, Larry Page, Google's chief executive, argued the firm's key goal was to modify its approach, as with the "+1" tool allowing web users to recommend search results.

"Our ultimate ambition is to transform the overall Google experience, making it beautifully simple, almost automagical because we understand what you want and can deliver it instantly," he said.

"This means baking identity and sharing into all of our products so that we build a real relationship with our users. Sharing on the web will be like sharing in real-life across all your stuff. You'll have better, more relevant search results and ads."

Among Google's areas of focus is the Chrome web browser, which has over 200m users. Google Maps is also now active in 130 countries, and mobile revenues have grown 2.5 times over in a year, hitting $2.5bn in the last quarter.

Google+, which has been active for three months, already boasts around 100 features, from Hangouts - which allow multiple members to hold joint conversations via webcams - to search and gaming.

The social network, which only recently allowed all web users to join, now boasts 40m members. As an example of high consumer involvement, Page stated 3.4bn photos have already been added to its pages.

He said: "People are flocking into Google+ at an incredible rate ... The engagement we're seeing is phenomenal too. But it's still incredibly early days for Google+ because our goal is actually far bigger than the individual feature launches themselves."

Google has also closed down around 20 of its products as it places a greater emphasis on areas that have the potential for delivering the stongest returns.

"To create products that really change people's lives, that they use every day, two times or three times a day, is really hard. So we have to make tough decisions about what to focus on," said Page.

"Generally, I found that high usage products will make a lot of money over time for well-managed technology companies, and that's why it's so important to run these businesses for the long term."

Looking to the future, Page suggested further change was likely to characterise the digital space, requiring a nuanced response from Google.

"These tools we use online will look very different in five years time," he said. "We'll continue to do things ... that really unify experience and make it more intuitive for people. But we're also going to do some experimentation on new things."

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff