Google Radio?

8 Mar ’06

After Google’s recent purchase of dMarc, the radio advertising business, there was considerable speculation over how dMarc might fit into Google’s AdSense world. But with the recent announcement of Toronto’s wifi cloud, an intriguing possibility comes to mind.

With wifi clouds forming everywhere these days, put a wifi PDA into everyone’s hands and you’ve got mobile internet radio – a compelling challenger to radio and satellite radio. But what if you could also tailor the content and advertising of internet radio to the individual listener? For example, could advertising and content be tailored to the listener’s preferences (because of the user’s listening history) or location (because of localization to a particular wifi transmitter)? Advertising and content that could be tailored to the user and accurately measured would be a powerful proposition – certainly more powerful than the very rough targeting and measurement tools now available in radio.

The stars seem to be aligning: Google has a media platform that’s only a stone’s throw from internet radio (Google Video), it has sophisticated advertising targeting, delivery and measurement systems including one designed for radio (AdSense, dMarc, lots and lots of Google accountholders), there are wifi clouds springing up everywhere (including one in San Franscisco that will be a Google-Earthlink JV), and every day brings handhelds that have wifi capability and a Windows OS.

Is Google Radio on the horizon?

Update: As I think through this more, it occurs to me that the increasing integration of the PC with the home entertainment system – where many people no doubt listen to radio – makes this an even more interesting prospect. As for car radio, I suspect that wifi will for some time not manage hand-offs well enough at speed for this to be feasible. (Any comments?) Finally – I suppose this is also suggestive of a wifi enabled iPod.

Previous post:

Next post: