Marissa Mayer and Michael Arrington at Le Web 2010
Marissa Mayer and Mike Arrington are making a yearly show out of appearing on stage at Le Web in Paris. Today they were there for the third time.
In other years Marissa didn’t really let much go about what Google was up to, at least nothing really new came out. To be honest, this year was no different. The talk was again very orchestrated and ended with a demo of the new Maps features on Google. Still it’s always interesting to hear Marissa talk.
Here’s the coverage of what came out of the talk:
Marissa now has a new job. She is “VP consumer products” so she is working a lot on Mobile products. She was in search for 11 years. Google became the number one search engine in that time and she wanted to try something new. Local is very related to search.
In her new position they are looking into contextual discovery. Search without search so to speak. That means giving information about things around you. This is not productized yet but will be next year.
Marissa said Google is trying to built a virtual mirror of the world with maps, Streetview and other products.
Streetview is one of her products. Arrington mentioned a naked German guy in the back of his car. Marissa counters that with stating that was a hoax.
Arrington wanted to go in more on the contextual discovery. Google will look at your latitude data on where you have been. You will then get information pushed to you. They are also already doing that on the web. Interesting point here is that they are still looking at what the right user experience is. That could be a panel in the browser.
On the mobile phone they will be looking at WHERE you are more. So if you are sitting in the restaurant you might be able to open up a social menu: what have others eaten here.
Arrington claims Latitude is pretty useless, and that Marissa is using a lot of Foursquare. She thinks its useful for a smaller subset of people. Changes to Latitude with new layers on top of it will be developed in the near future. Essentially that will be checkins. They have been looking at logical places to introduce Latitude.
Arrington moves to possible acquisitions which lie close to Marissa: Yelp, Twitter and Groupon. Assuming that they happened: why is it becoming difficult for Google to acquire companies.
“I can’t comment on any of these instants”, was her first response. She then went on: every deal is complicated. How do you integrate a company, do you integrate it. That depends on the company, the leadership. So when you are talking about a large acquisition we really had to have a customized approach.
There will be acquisitions. They’re on track for almost an acquisition a week. Admob has been a huge success. They are now serving more than a billion mobile ads a day.
One of the new products Marissa was involved in is Hotpot. Marissa explains what it is.
“It’s a personalized recommendation engine. It is built in to GMM and Places. You can therefore read it when you are IN a restaurant.
Even if you don’t have any friends they will look at others. Like Amazon does. It’s aimed at local businesses.
You can go into maps or Places, you’ll see the recommendations there.”
Arrington ask if she can confirm that its coming? Schmidt confirmed it as a layer. “We are working hard on it”. But how important is it? If it turns out wrong, what happens?
Its clear that its really important. If we don’t : we have more. Search, video, social and mobile. Google has got 3 out of 4 right.
Twitter is an amazing distribution mechanism. It’s a way for people to get more awareness. She takes Foursquare as example: they became successful because of Twitter.
Nexus S and the new Maps
At one point Arrington grabbed out a Nexus S. It was a setup to introducing an engineer who was going to show the Nexus S.
It turned out to be a really orchestrated presentation about the new Maps on Android. Marissa pointed out Maps. It was much about what we wrote about earlier this week, the 3D perspective was demonstrated.
Arrington tried to get a bit more out of her by playing the “what if game”.
Arrington: If you ran Yahoo what would you do?
Mayer: “I think its a difficult job. Carol has done a lot of smart things. Looking at other interesting brands are smart acquisitions.”
Arrington: Would you like to invest in Twitter of Foursquare
Mayer: “In each case it would or would not making sense. We have to look at it on a case to case basis.”
The talk closed with talk about Chrome OS and Android. Chrome OS will get a appstore.
Want to see the entire talk and the demo? You can! Watch below: