Google Wants to Go Offline, Too

You know Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) as an omnipresent entity of the Internet. Everywhere you look, you'll see a Google search box and a couple of AdSense ads. The company is a bigger online deity than eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) , Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) combined, counting by market cap.

But when you close your laptop, silence the smartphone, and unplug from cyberspace in general, Google disappears. As big as Google is online, it hasn't made a serious impact on your offline life. Yet.

Big G is out to change that. Google TV will bring the Android software platform into living rooms this fall, which gives Google access to that big screen you're watching when you're not online. The company is running ads for its ad services (meta-advertising?) in trade magazines for marketing professionals, hoping to raise awareness of its online marketing tools to those who don't venture far into the digital world. And this week, Google gets a screen installed on the iconic Times Square canvas of sensory overload in New York City.

It's not just a simple display running Google ads in the real world, but an interactive thing that asks passers-by to launch videos explaining what Google ads can do for you. Yep, more ads for Google's ads. Maybe they'll get through to someone, someday.

Joe the Plumber tends to know that he can buy Christmas gifts from Amazon and sell the ones he doesn't like through eBay. He's probably had a Yahoo! Mail account since the late 1990s, whether he uses it or not. But even if he uses Google in some way every day, he'd be hard pressed to explain the difference between that and Yahoo! Search or Bing. As for online ads, they're just part of the background on his favorite Web pages. You mean there's a company behind that?

Google is like air or water or electric power to many consumers -- always there but you don't really think about it. The company is trying hard to lose that invisibility and raise a few extra dollars of revenue in the process.

Will Google ever lose the online-only label? I think so, but it'll take a few years. Air your own opinion in the comments below.

Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Amazon.com and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on eBay. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2010, at 2:12 PM, angingrich wrote:

    Actually, Google TV isn't intended to be used offline. I was at a private conference last month at Adobe, and we were shown an early preview of Google TV. Rather than take Google offline, they're trying to bring TV's online and integrate numerous aspects of the web into TV's (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, the web, Flash games, etc).

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