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Google Product Search + Mobile = The Future?

Mark Jackson
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The night before search conferences is typically a time to reconnect with fellow SEOs, share in a beverage, and talk a little shop. Search Engine Strategies Chicago was no different, as I caught up with Mike Grehan.

Now, Mike and I don't always share the same views, but we respect each other and will exchange some banter. He asked me, "Mark, where do you think this industry is heading?"

I thought for a moment, and said, "Well, interactive TV has me very intrigued." After all, sight and sound together is a strong emotive messaging platform -- as we've always known with traditional television, combined with the measurement of an interactive channel.

Mike replied, "The future is mobile."

I thought about this for a moment, and -- as is often the case with my discussions with Mike -- we respected each other's opinion and still thought we were the right one.

But I may have been wrong, and now I'm considering Mike's position with greater interest.

Mobile Search Battle Update

On the whole, I'll remember 2008 as the year I moved from my old BlackBerry to the iPhone. The iPhone has opened my eyes to the possible future of our industry.

I still believe in Google TV, but after attending the great session Mobile Search Battle Update at SES Chicago, I'm beginning to come around to a new truth: mobile search has the potential to be huge. Very, very huge.

One quick note to my readers who aren't located in the United States: I realize that we're slightly behind consumers in Japan, for example. The mobile device isn't our main access point to the Web, here, as it may be in other parts of the world -- yet.

When "new things" come around, I ask myself how success will be measured. This is why I was so intrigued with Google TV. This is why I'm now (equally?) intrigued with mobile.

All marketing should be measured by the number of sales/leads and ROI. Certainly, branding won't go away any time soon (which is why I like Google TV), but during down economic times, we tend to move more toward what is driving sales now.

Google Product Search Works

Google Product Search is highly important at any time of year, but especially so in these economic times and in the fourth quarter/holiday season. If you run an e-commerce Web site, but you aren't participating in Google Product Search, sign up now.

My company has been running campaigns for our e-commerce clients for some time. However, most of our clients' sales happen online, so everything is measureable, through analytics. Easy enough.

But what about brick-and-mortar locations? Yes, many/most have e-commerce capabilities, but what if you're out on the streets and want to search for a "lawn mower." You'll get the universal results (I see Sears, Amazon and Wholesale Industrial listed there, from both my desktop and iPhone).

Google Product Search...GPS...Wait...GPS?

The solution? A location-based search via mobile device to serve you results for the "best deals located near you for the items that you're searching for."

Certainly, not all searches are for "immediate need items" (plenty of research is conducted via search on the desktop), but when you're searching via your mobile device, you're probably looking for a quick transaction of some sort (restaurants, retail, etc.).

Within the next two years, we can expect that a lot of the mobile phones we see in the United States today will be passed over for smart phones (iPhones) and more people will conduct searches via their mobile devices. If GPS (Google Product Search) provides hyper-local results, and we can institute smart tracking (via QR Codes or 2D Bar Coding) we could actually track marketing to the end result, very directly. Google TV hasn't figured that out, quite yet, but I'm beginning to believe that my friend Mike may have been onto something.

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