In the space of just a few short years, Google knocked Microsoft off its throne to become arguably the world's most powerful - possibly the most feared - technology company with involvement in a vast array of different areas. The company describes its mission as "to develop services that significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible". To that end it has built upon its core offering to spin out a kaleidoscope of additional services, ranging from global mapping and Android mobile software to healthcare research and driverless cars. Uniquely, for now at least, virtually all its add-ons are free to use, paid for by the awe-inspiring success of the company's advertising programme. Google may not be the world's biggest online company by revenues (that's still Amazon) but it's the most valuable by far with a market value of over $460bn by mid 2015. Yet Google's position at the top of the digital advertising tree is under threat from an even faster-growing business, Facebook. At the same time, its steps into hardware development have so far been patchy. In 2011, the group took steps to monetise Android by acquiring one of its first licensors, US handset manufacturer Motorola. Less than two years later, though, it sold that business on to Lenovo of China after failing to boost performance. Its Google Glass computer-powered eyewear also failed to find a ready audience. In 2015, the group announced plans to restructure, splitting out its more fanciful research-based operations as separate units under the umbrella of new parent company Alphabet Inc.
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Adbrands Social Media 20th Dec 2018: "Home Alone Again". Macaulay Culkin must have spent years wishing he could leave his breakthrough role in the movie Home Alone behind him forever. But at some point over the course of 28 years - yes, 28 years! - you begin to realise that, hey, that wasn't so bad after all, and it's possible to cherish your old performance that meant so much to many other people. So here he is again, reprising Kevin and all those same old comic set-ups, reimagined almost shot for shot from the original film, this time with help from Google's AI Assistant. Creative boutique Arts & Letters in Richmond, VA, is behind the spot. Just how much you love this ad will depend, of course, on how central the original was to your life. For some (me included), the key coming of age movie might instead have been Ferris Bueller, and indeed Matthew Broderick performed a very similar rerun for Honda's Super Bowl ad in 2012, overseen by agency RPA.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Nov 2018: A big win for Google this week with the capture of consolidated ad tech and digital platform services for Walt Disney Company, including the soon-to-be-added Fox properties and the group's new streaming platforms. All global digital video and ad serving for Disney properties - including Disney, ABC, ESPN, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, 20th Century Fox, FX and National Geographic - will now be managed via Google. Previously, much of the account was handled by Comcast. Said Google's chief business officer Philipp Schindler, "Together, we plan to build an advanced video experience for Disney that will transcend devices, platforms, and living rooms to bring the magic of premium video content into people’s hearts, minds, and screens - everywhere.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: Google parent Alphabet confirmed plans to launch the first US commercial driverless taxi service through its Waymo division before the end of the year. The service will initially launch in Phoenix, Arizona, where Waymo has spent years testing its technology, and then gradually roll out to other US cities. The company said it had already received considerable interest from corporate customers keen to use the service for staff transportation.
Adbrands Social Media 27th Oct 2018: "The Power To Wonder". Droga5 is responsible for this lovely little film for Google's (highly rated) new Pixel 3 smartphone. That voiceover won't probably mean anything to non-US viewers, but to almost every American under the age of 60 it's the sound of their childhood. 'Mr Rogers' Neighborhood' was a staple of children's television for more than 30 years until 2001, running to almost 900 episodes. In each show Fred Rogers would muse on different aspects of everyday life and attempt to explain them in songs and simple words to his rapt young audience. The Pixel 3's Google Lens object recognition software hopes to offer something similar for a more tech-savvy age, albeit without the same down-home folksiness.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Oct 2018: So farewell then Google+. Google said it will suspend consumer functionality of Google+, its ill-fated and long-struggling attempt to rival Facebook in social media. The final nail in the coffin appears to have been a Wall Street Journal scoop revealing that a loophole in the site's software. This had inadvertently given third-party software developers the ability to access personal data for all 500,000 users for three years until Google's engineers discovered the loophole in March and fixed it. However senior managers controversially decided not to make the issue public for fear of attracting the attention of regulators. Following the WSJ's story, Google said it was justified in not alerting users because there had been no evidence of any misuse of the data. Updated: Following the subsequent discovery of further security loopholes, the original date for closing Google+ was brought forward from August 2019 to April.
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