Today in Social

Kantar Media, a unit of the big advertising holding company WPP, estimates that Google spent over $200 million in U.S. advertising last year, $70 million of it on TV. Kantar says that’s up almost four times versus the prior year, and when measured as a percentage of revenue is approaching the ratio of companies like Microsoft and Apple. That’s a new thing for Google, a company whose online reach – via search, email, and YouTube – is pretty much ubiquitous in the U.S. Does Google feel it needs to explain itself to consumers? You bet. It can put a Play button on its black toolbar and it will be in most consumers’ face, but what’s behind that button? A re-named Android Marketplace as a launchpad for a lot of Google entertainment content. Google’s integrating, but it’s also looking like the distributed version of a portal. Will its coming cloud drive be a consumer play, or a Google Docs extension? Both. And that will require advertising to explain.

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David Card

VP Research Gigaom Research

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