Google Israel CEO Meir Brand spoke with “Globes” editor Hagai Golan today at the "Globes" MAD (Media Advertising Digital) conference in Tel Aviv, after Google placed first in the “Globes” Brand Index.
This is the second time that Google has won top brand on the Brand Index, and this is another testament to the role Internet plays in our lives. How do you explain the fact that Google, as a search engine and as a content provider, has such a strong presence?
Brand: “Google operates in the world in order to bring added value to billions of consumers worldwide. Larry Page likes to talks about the ‘toothbrush test.’ This is a product that is available to billions of people in the world who currently use it twice a day. As our lives become increasingly digital, there are products that can bring added value to our lives. This can be mail, maps, search, video, and more. So long as Google has the sense to place the user at the center, and thinks, ‘What can I do in order to improve the user’s life,’ then the brand will continue to be a strong one.
Google almost never advertises, and it is still a strong brand. How do you explain that?
“In most of the tech world, the brand is the product. So long as the product adds significant value, it becomes a brand. A company like Waze is a product with significant daily value, and it became a brand. If you want to build a product in the tech world, you much focus on the user, and then you can become a brand.”
If there were a competing search engine, you wouldn’t compete?
“When Google launched, it was not the first search engine. It was the seventh or eighth. At that time, people were eulogizing the industry. What did Google do then? It focused on the user, and led the way. Even today, the problem of search has not been solved. It is still not solved today. We have come a long way.”
Larry says that the perfect search engine is an engine that understands exactly what you want. We are not there yet. It is not guaranteed that Google will be the one to succeed with the next search innovation.
“It is unbelievably fun to represent Google in Israel. Israelis lead the world in so many ways. When I sit with colleagues at management meetings in Europe, Israel always stands out in use. It is always among the top five. Internet use-time is in the top five - the amount of time spent online in comparison with other countries. In mobile penetration rates, app use, search, video views, and social networks, Israel is number one in the world.
“We are always approaching the Internet with more and more products. Within a year or two, the Israeli family will have 4-5 devices with which to connect to the Internet. The number of screens that we interact with is constantly increasing.
“We are entirely at the beginning of the road in terms of mobile use. The user experience is still not optimal. I received a notification now, and I thought about how many steps it takes in order to read it. Take the phone out of my pocket, look at the notification, and read it. It should be a much simpler, more user-focused experience.”
Why did Google object to removing offensive search results?
“A search engine makes all the information accessible to us, and to know or to accept different perspectives on a particular topic, and it is up to us, as consumers, to understand what is and is not right. This balance is very delicate. Until the ruling in Europe, Google felt it did not need to be in the position of judge, to understand what is and isn’t right. Until the ruling, it was necessary to contact the owner of the site on which the content appeared, or the court. The ruling made Google responsible for judging which content should stay, and which should go. It is a very complicated matter.
“You have to understand how complex the matter is in practice. We keep the law, of course, but the job is certainly complicated. When we stop pointing to content in search results, it still exists online. Let’s say the content is on the ‘Globes’ website, Google will not point to it, but you can go into the Globes website and read it. It’s like taking a library book out of the index, but you can still find it on the shelves. It is still not a solution.”
Because Google is so commonly used, it is still a relatively good solution. There are a lot of advertising and marketing people here. Is there something they are not addressing yet?
Israelis really lead the world in performance. This is understood by most of the industry. On the other hand, the Internet world has become much more visual - many more pictures, and many more videos. Video came out of the television box and into computers and mobile. The issue of online branding is still immature, and still has a long way to go. We still need to learn how to do smart branding online.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 16, 2014
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