Google rolled out its new GoMo initiative today. It’s designed to help business owners optimize their sites for mobile. Google tells a little story about a customer who goes to a website from their smartphone and had a frustrating experience. They leave and never come back. Sad for the small business. Sad for Google.
There is no mention in this blog post of how fragmented the mobile experience has become, especially on Android. But read between the lines and that is the issue GoMo hopes to address.
Google sees a bright future in mobile advertising, with more people expected to go online with smartphones than PCs by 2013. Mobile is the platform for consumption. Users look for local information and reach out to merchants with a phone call. Despite how slick apps are, 63 percent of mobile users prefer to do their shopping through the web. 50 percent of mobile searches lead to purchases. The company has seen the search market in mobile grow 4x since 2010. And it’s the fastest growing part of their advertising revenue by far, on pace to more than double by next year, according to CEO Larry Page.
For now GoMo is largely a portal, offering companies a list of developers and agencies that can help them build a mobile site for anywhere between $1,000 and $75,000 dollars. But it also feeds curious businesses directly into Google’s mobile ad sales and the companies site builder.
“It’s really about giving tools that make it easy,” says David Barkoe, the marketing director for Netbiscuits, based out of New York.”Our platform really helps businesses solve the problem of fragmentation. Write once, render anywhere.” It’s the same pain point being addressed by Medialets, where Mr. Barkoe worked until this summer.
The firm’s most recent study found that, “Of the 17 basic HTML5 features tested, only four (Offline Web Application Support, Geolocation API, 2D Animation Rendering and Webstorage) are supported by a clear majority of the top 10 devices in North America. The other 13 HTML5 features tested are only partly supported, or not supported at all, by top devices.”
You only have to go back to the widely read post from Michael DeGusta about the history of support on Android to see that Google’s problems far outstrip Apple’s. To address this Google seems to be building solutions for the different parts of the mobile ecosystem. Back in February, it introduced new developer tools intended to combat these issues in between phones and tablets.
And while the purchase of Motorola makes sense in terms of the patent portfolio, it also gives Google a foothold in the hardware business, meaning the company could begin to push a line of flagship phones that might do more than Nexus to standardize Android handsets.
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