Google did well in the fourth quarter, giving the company runway to talk about its next wave of initiatives. Specifically, executives that said alongside the larger category of display advertising, mobile will be the No. 1 growth area in the next year, with significant revenue to accompany the widespread uptake of mobile devices that can handle data.
With phone features like GPS and cameras, and the incorporation of personalization, social and local features, Google SVP of product management, Jonathan Rosenberg, said on today’s earning call for press and analysts, “There is potential to make this mobile web better than the PC web.” Rosenberg said advertisers are also wising up to mobile, finding that including their phone number or address will increase click-through rates. Further, targeting tools and analytics are improving monetization rates. However the company declined to break out mobile revenue.
On the device side, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he felt the Android strategy has shown to be “a pretty clear success at this point.” He also sought to clarify Google’s approach on its own device, the Nexus One: “What the Nexus One is really about is a new way of buying a phone. We think that’s a natural evolution of a particular model. It does not exclude other models.”
The other interesting takeaway was a Schmidt comment with regard to Google’s stance on China. “We would like to stay in China, and we remain quite committed to being there,” he said, emphasizing that as company talks with the Chinese government about recent security breaches it continues to censor search results and operate its China business unchanged.
Related research: Google’s Mobile Strategy (GigaOM Pro subscription required)