It was in to the lion’s den for new Google (NSDQ: GOOG) UK MD Matt Brittin. Just 24 hours after being promoted to the role, after Dennis Woodside’s departure to Google HQ, he also replaced Woodside to give a keynote at MediaGuardian’s Changing Media Summit. Brittin used his address to announce the arrival of Street View in the UK. The Big G’s mapping cars roamed UK streets last year; now the feature has been rolled out to 25 cities.
Brittin forestalled privacy criticism: “We talked to the Information Commissioner’s office about the product, what it does what it does and how we control privacy in it – and they’re delighted with the standards built in to it. I suspect the Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT) will run a story about, is this a burglar’s charter? We talked to the Metropolitan Police … burglaries are opportunistic rather than people sitting on armchairs, stroking white cats and wondering where to go and burgle.”
– PRS talks should be private: Brittin suggested YouTube’s decision to go public with its UK music royalties spat was unwise: “Unfortunately, it has become a little bit fought in the newspapers – it’s better if these things are conducted in private negotiations. The PRS wanted a lot more money, that made it basically uneconomic to keep the videos there. It needs a new model.”
– Google needs better comms: “I’m very aware of the criticisms that people can make of Google and some of it is a bit ill-informed. One of the things we’ve not done a very good job of is getting across a little bit more clearly what it is we do.”
– Advertising downturn: “The adoption of digital technology is going to be accelerated by the downturn. Staying in is the new going out.”
– Mobile web incredibly sticky: “We get 30 times more searches from an iPhone thatn we do from another higher-end device like a BlackBerry.”