Business Matters: If Big Radio Had Pandora's Royalty Rate, It Would Owe Billions
Business Matters: If Big Radio Had Pandora's Royalty Rate, It Would Owe Billions

An earnings call that had been scooped earlier in the day by an erroneously sent earnings release -- Google shares dipped 9% as a result -- actually had a little bit of value to people other than equity analysts.

Google senior VP and chief business officer Nikesh Arora spent a few minutes talking about four trends that are reshaping the company. This brief portion of the call provided a crash course on Google's priorities for the future.

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The first trend is the multi-screen consumer. Google is already targeting all screens -- with varying levels of success. PC-based search is the company's bread and butter. Its Android operating system is the leading mobile platform in the world and Google CEO Larry Page said the company has "a good base there." As for the large screen, Page frequently talked about Google TV.

"I use it," the CEO said later in the call. "I love it. I think it's great to have a real browser available on your television and easily access YouTube and all those kinds of things."

The second trend is delivering more precise ads to consumers. "We can do a better job connecting marketers with consumers in the moments that matter with respect to the device they're using," Arora said. Google Shopping, a service that provides information, pictures, pricing and local inventory information, went live Wednesday.

The third trend is augmenting offline brand campaigns with online media. Google is investing heavily in original programming to lure viewers and build premium ad inventory, and Arora said Google expects brands to follow viewers to online video. He thinks brands will be pleased with the results compared to TV spending: across 92 ad campaigns on YouTube, Google found spending on YouTube was about 2.4 times more efficient than the equivalent TV spend.

The fourth trend is cloud computing and Google's enterprise business. The main point here is the growth of YouTube as a platform. The summer Olympics were streamed live to 64 countries. Just last weekend a new YouTube record was set when 8 million concurrent streams were viewed of Felix Baumgartner's world-record free-fall from 128,000 feet.

"YouTube is going to be available everywhere," Page said later in the call, "on your mobile, on your TV, your desktop, wherever you want."

The message should be clear: Google is building its platforms and services to connect consumers and brands. Its strength is helping advertisers find consumers more efficiently. Downloads don't fit into Google's core capability. Internet radio, however, something Google has yet to pursue, is much closer to the company's core capability of advertising.

Above all, YouTube is clearly a major priority for the company. That means more YouTube, and more "Gangnam Style," on living room TVs in the near future.

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