Google and Dish Networks are reportedly teaming up to create a set-top box. The tech blogs are all abuzz about the chips, specs and tech. The partnership with Sony, Motorola, Logitech and all the mips and ghz crap.
Only Marketplace seemed to have a grip on what it really means- Google will have yet another way to learn your behaviors and deliver relevant ads to you.
Google is big brother. They read your e-mail through gmail. They know what you are interested in by what you watch on YouTube, what you search for on Google, they know who you called and what you talked about via Google Voice and they can even read your Google docs and check your Google calendar. It’s a Google life.
As the kings of sponsored search- they provide ads relevant to what your interest is RIGHT now. Tie all that info together and you can see the advantage of you watching TV through their Google Settop box. Forget the networks selling ad time in their show- the Google set top box will have a stockpile of ads that they think will be just what you are interested in already sitting in your box waiting for just the next commercial break in your programming. Sure, they’ll kick some of the ad revenue back to the content producer (they know making content is expensive (sometimes) and that people should get paid for making programming YOU like to watch). They just don’t think you should watch anything that isn’t specifically relevant to you.
They’ll be so good at analyzing all that data that they’ll even offer to run the ads for next to nothing- as long as you use Google checkout via your Google SetTop box so they can skim off the credit card processing fee plus a few points for delivering the sale.
No other company has as much access to data as Google does right now. The few other players in the field- Amazon, Apple, Netflix and a few dating sites including the really interesting dating/market research site OKCupid- can only put a few pieces of the puzzle together. Even Apple with it’s Mac/iPhone/iTunes environment can’t also provide search results (although they could gather data via their Safari browser and their elegant operating system).
Is this move by Google good- or to be feared? Their mantra is “don’t be evil” but, at some point, life can get pretty boring with everything coming to you picked by someone else. What happens with political ads? Public service messages? At what point do we want to step away from the giant database of human intentions?
It will most certainly change the world of advertising and media buying. Clients will be freed of all media buying planning- just serious demographic/psychographic profiling in order to identify target markets. Then again- maybe that will be part of the next Google algorithm.
The only problem left will be how to figure out what content to watch- but, then again- Netflix and Amazon have already figured out the whole “you like this- then you’ll like this” deal- so maybe, it won’t be an issue. Google’s only remaining hurdle is how to deliver all this data- but, that’s why they are starting the Google Fiber project, so it won’t be long.
Posts about the Google SetTop Box: