Is the much ballyhooed Google Chrome — the new open source browser — as shiny for advertisers as it is for those testing the Microsoft beta version and commenting via online posts? Those of us in local search are sitting on the edge of our seats to find out for sure, since Google is considered by many to be “the” player in the local search space.
Google began developing Chrome when rethinking the traditional browser, which was originally designed for simple text pages. Today, of course, the browser is tasked with rich, interacting applications. Google’s belief was that we needed not just a browser but a “modern platform” (operating system) for Web pages and applications.
In fact, Google Chrome was designed for people who live on the Web — searching for information, checking e-mail, checking up on the news, shopping, or just staying in touch with friends. Google sees Chrome as an opportunity to move the Web application infrastructure forward with the new OS that will allow for a better user experience and, in the future, potentially richer applications.
If this next generation browser/OS succeeds in driving innovation and faster downloads, it could be a lucrative opportunity for advertisers and local search players. Faster downloads, for example, would allow users to access more advertising information quicker.
However, there remains the possibility that pay-per-click advertising may increase in price. That’s because Chrome integrates the address bar with a search box that is driven by a Google Search feature. What might this mean for advertisers? Perhaps it will require increased SEO to reach the top of the pages and architecting search terms to reach the top of the suggestions list.
It also begs the question about any impact on display advertising headings. Google allows “incognito” searching, so some targeting methodologies that rely on cookies will be required to develop alternatives.
But think of the opportunities. We’ve seen the popularity of “apps” skyrocket lately as mobile devices push the trend forward. The concept behind Chrome suggests that there’s a whole realm of opportunity for delivering a new generation of apps directly through the Web browser.
As Google (and the Web) continues to evolve, those of us in local search can be beneficiaries of new technology, if we stay on top of the changes and create ways to deploy them to the advantage of our advertisers. We will also be challenged by new technology to be innovative in developing effective ways to communicate advertiser messages.
The progression continues. From the printed book to online to video ads, etc., Yellow Pages and Internet Yellow Pages have continued to innovate. But the only constant is change. Like the computer and technology industries, we all must be nimble, ready to not only accept change but to accelerate it. It’s what the end users expect and deserve.
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