Google+ VP Bradley Horowitz gave an interview on-stage at IGNITION conference that showcased his seeming lack of comprehension of how the rest of Google actually works.
Horowitz began by touting all the benefits of Google products and Google+, which is great. That’s what he was there for.
Then, he jokingly referred to Facebook as the “social network of the past.” Horowitz then segued into an imagined scenario with a guy dressed in a sandwich board, running in between a man and his daughter. This is an intrusion in the “sacred space” that is a social connection, he said.
It's much more useful (and less annoying) to users to show social recommendations instead of ads. For example, he said, if you search for a product in Google – say a microwave – you can see which one your Google+ contacts recommend.
What Facebook is doing, according to Horowitz, is jamming ads, “sponsored things,” into users’ streams, which is “pissing off users and frustrating brands, too.”
And of course, we know this never happens on Google. When you're in the “sacred space” of organic search, you never see ads jammed into the stream. Hello, Google Shopping PLAs!
Perhaps the best quote from Horowitz during the entire interview was this: “We don't have to make next week's payroll by jamming ads at users.”
Horowitz seems to need reminding that Google makes 96 percent of their revenue in advertising. Google likes to deflect criticism over the low level of engagement on the Google+ social site by reminding us that “Google+ is Google itself.”
The Google+ bar is everywhere you are, when you are signed in to Google. Those social recommendations you see when you’re using organic search might just be on Product Listing Ads. You might just be subjected to an advertising prelude to your YouTube video, accompanied by an ad overlay while you’re watching. You’ll see ads at the top of your Gmail inbox.
Google is trying to master the technique of getting ads in front of users who are trying to accomplish other tasks, whether social, recreational, professional, or otherwise.
Those in glass houses...