We’ve highlighted and graded 20 Google mobile products based on quality, market adoption, value to users, value to marketers, originality, and other factors. As more internet users shift from desktop to mobile devices, Google will continue to gain valuable advertising revenue and build increasingly more innovative mobile products. Businesses looking to take advantage of rising trend of mobile marketing should develop their own mobile marketing strategy.
Google’s mobile location extension ad feature lets Google Ads users add a business address, phone number, and map to advertisements. Users benefit in that they get all the essential data they need without clicking through to another page. Maps and locations are key for mobile users on the move, so the map extensions feature is especially beneficial when users want to see how close a nearby business is to their present location. The mobile ad extension is one of many Google Ads ad extensions.
Google’s Click-to-Call feature allows businesses to add a clickable phone number to their ads that appear on mobile devices. Users can click the call button and have the number automatically generated onto their mobile device, making it easy to connect with businesses. The Click-to-Call ad extension is also great for advertisers as it increases clicks considerably – ads with the click-to-call extension see increased click-through-rates of 6-8%. The Click-to-Call extension is especially handy for local businesses. Since mobile users are often looking for a local business to solve an immediate issue, the Click-to-Call button enables local businesses to connect with users quickly and see if the business can meet the user’s need.
Google Offer for Mobile provides discounts that can be redeemed online or at store locations. Google Offers is Google’s version of other popular deal sites like Groupon and Living Social, enabling users to easily redeem deals by using discounts stored on their mobile device. As with other deal sites, businesses must pay a certain amount to Google for posting their deal. Businesses who use deal sites like Google Offers can gain a lot of brand awareness and bring in new customers. However, sometimes the pay offs aren’t worth the hassle; advertisers risk a huge, temporary influx of non-returning customers who only visit for the deal. If businesses aren’t ready to handle the increase in orders, they can potentially go into the red trying to hire more workers and increase product volume to meet temporary demand.
Google AdMob is Google’s mobile advertising platform that monetizes the app industry. While AdMob infuriates users with constant add pop-ups and game interruptions, it’s what enables users to get games for free; AdMob enables developers to generate revenue from ads that normally would be obtained by pricing the app. AdMob is used by advertisers to promote their app within other existing apps. Free apps generate revenue by letting other apps advertise in-game. Either way, Google takes a cut.
Google Maps is one of Google’s flagship mobile products, setting the bar for mobile map and GPS apps. Google Maps boasts smooth, reliable, and fast directions for driving by car, public transportation, or walking on foot. Google Maps has some great added features, such as indoor maps, 3D maps, street view, and maps available to download for offline viewing. Additionally, Google Maps lets users search for nearby local businesses. Google Maps improves the local search experience with geo-targeted ads, which benefits advertisers who are looking to promote their local business. Considering that 1 in 4 Google searches are related to local, Google Maps is key in making it easy for users to find nearby solutions to meet their needs.
Google Now lets users customize their experience by selecting cards that categorize which subjects that are important to them, such as music, weather, sports, etc. Google Now also lets users input their daily commute, and Google Now can offer alternatives during high-traffic times. Google Now seeks to answers a user’s question before they ask, by knowing what is important to that individual user and delivering real-time data to assist them. Google Now is still in its early stages, but it has a lot of potential. With a customizable card system and Siri-like voice commands, Google Now aims to serve as a user’s one-stop app for all the important things happening in a user’s day.
Google+ Local makes it easy for users to locate nearby cafes, restaurants, and shops that are highly rated by the Zagat rating system. Google+ Local isn’t really all that different from Yelp or other location-focused apps, but it does have the nifty option of seeing nearby locations recommended by friends in your Circles. This would be a lot more handy if people actually used Google+; right now there isn’t much activity, but that could change in the future. If advertisers want to increase their chances of showing up on the Google+ local app, it’s essential to fill out a Google Places profile. Google+ Local also allows for sponored search results through Google Ads, which will increase the likelihood of being found through the Google+ Local search.
Google Play Books is Google’s e-reader app, letting users read ebooks on mobile devices. While it has some nice features like a built-in dictionary and the ability to sync bookmarks across devices, it doesn’t do much to set it apart from competing e-reader apps like Kindle.
Google Wallet merges smartphones and purchase payment methods to simplify online and in-store shopping in an entirely new way. Google Wallet lets users store credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and loyalty cards on the secure Google cloud severs. Users can then access and pay with these cards by bringing up the Google Wallet app and tapping their phone on an NFC terminal at checkout. Google Wallet is a great app that does a lot to modernize traditional payment options, but its lack of user adoption and the scarcity of NFC terminals keep Google Wallet from becoming a true success.
Google Voice lets users take control of their voicemail by enabling free text messages, customized voicemail, and voicemail text transcripts. Users also have the option to make cheap international calls with a Google number. Google Voice has additional features like call forwarding and call recording, but those require a paid account.
Google Mobile Search brings the Internet’s number one search engine to mobile devices. Google Mobile search makes conducting mobile searches easy, and for advertisers that means more ad impressions and clicks.
Google Shopper for Mobile assists users in discovering products and making purchasing decisions. Users can compare brick and mortar prices against online prices, read product reviews, examine products details, and more. Google Shopper is also capable of recognizing products by cover art, barcode, voice and text search, powered by Google Goggles technology. It’s a nifty app for the smartphone shopper.
Google Goggles is a remarkable image-recognition app that introducers users to visual search technology. Users can snap a photo of a physical object, and Google retrieves information about the image. Google Goggles can offer historical information on landmarks, translate foreign menus, and recognize books, CDs, and artwork. Currently Google Goggles works best on 2D objects, but as this technology continues to grow, we can expect Google Goggles to become even more sophisticated.
Google’s Mobile YouTube App transforms the world’s most popular video sharing site into an app for mobile devices. Currently, 25% of YouTube’s traffic comes from mobile devices, with mobile video views increasing 300% in 2012. YouTube isn’t just a win for users – Google benefits tremendously from YouTube through video ads. The new TrueView video ad format, which lets users skip ads after 5 seconds, has helped boost YouTube ad quality, encouraging advertisers to create ads viewers actually want to watch.
Google Play is Google’s one-stop mobile store for purchasing apps, movies, ebooks, music, etc. These purchases can be shared across mobile devices and downloaded from the Google cloud.
Google Android OS is Google’s Linux-based open source operating system for mobile devices. It has been the world’s most widely used smartphone platform as of 2010. Android offers users a “direct manipulation” interface for smart, natural phone use. Android’s open source code and permissive licensing allows device manufacturers, wireless carriers, and developers to adjust, customize, and distribute the platform freely. Remarkably, Android has a worldwide smartphone market share of 75%. Android users are also more likely to interact with other Google products like Google Chrome and Google Ads.
Google bought out Motorola in 2012, combining Motorola’s existing mobile devices with Google’s popular Android software. Google initially wanted Motorola for its mobile technology patents, which would give Google power in the increasingly vicious patent wars. However, under the FTC settlement, Google was forced to allow competitors access to the patents Google spent big money to obtain, which basically was $12.5 billion flushed down the drain for Google. While this was a blow to Google, there is little doubt it will recover, especially with Google’s rumored iPhone-killing “X-Phone” on the horizon.
Google Chrome Mobile is a mobile internet browser that makes it easy for users to surf the web on a mobile device. The Google Chrome Mobile browser brings some of the original browser’s most popular features to mobile, such as tabs and incognito mode. Users also have the ability to sync bookmarks across Chrome browsers. Ultimately, Chrome makes a better mobile web browsing experience.
Google Glass is Google’s research and development program to create augmented reality eyeglasses. The eyeglasses work similar to a smartphone, letting users access the internet browser, camera, maps, calendar, and other apps by voice commands. The demo videos for Google Glass seem like something that could only be imagined in futuristic fantasy films, but Google Glass will soon be a reality; the first set of augmented reality glasses, the Explore Edition units, are in the process of being approved by the FCC. These first editions will be for developers’ eyes only, but if things go well, don’t be surprised to find them on consumer shelves in the not-so-distant future.