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Archive for November 20th, 2007

Google Magazine; Another off-road attempt.

Google filed a patent back in May of 2006. The patent essentially says that Google wants to give users the ability to search and browse their own content, and receive an electronic or hard copy version of the final product. And that final product will include advertisements highly relevant to the user.

…the customer interface documents may be provided via a kiosk. For example, kiosks containing the customer interface documents may be provided in stores (e.g., Target, supermarkets, retail stores, etc.) in a similar way as picture kiosks are currently provided in such stores.

So instead of buying your current niche based magazine, which I thought was fairly targeted. Google thinks that they can provide a publication that is so targeted that advertisers and readers will stumble over each other to advertise and buy it respectively.

So  Mens Health, Cosmo, Road and Track, Playboy, etc etc. are essentially missing the boat according to Google. But what I am not sure of is, how does Google plan on carrying this out? Do I go to a Google Kiosk and instead of grabbing the magazine of choice, I go to a screen pick out the articles that interest me and print? And with that, I get a very targeted group of advertisers geared right towards my articles’ subject matter and my general interests? How long would this take? What if I have to grab a train?

In theory I can understand it, because in most magazines, very seldom does the publication meet the complete needs and the criteria of the reader. Now some may read it cover to cover, but for the most part we thumb through the ads (some of which may not be geared towards you) and we go to the articles that interest us. Can you imagine? Our own personal magazines with all the content developed for us and by us and packaged by Google; with advertisers using a Google interface selling the things that would totally interest us and us only? All I can think is a) freaky scarry and b) cool.

So it’s not too far off now in the sense that our social bookmarks are essentially the content that we like, or the sites that we like, ordered, and condensed and available to us 24/7/365. Taking this to the next level would be creating a hard-copy of  your social bookmarks; that would NOT require a reader or a laptop or a PDA.

Amazingly enough, doesn’t this sort of fly in the face of technology in that we are reverting back to paper environment? In a time when newspapers are folding and consolidating, and magazines are relying more and more on advertisers to stay alive,  perhaps this is the type of lifeline that they have needed all along. Though the final iteration will not be close to what we’re talking about here, it seems certain that something, to the extent that you will  build your own “magazine”, seems right around the corner. Your content and your advertisers. And why not? If someone asked you to name the type of products you wanted to be pitched on, you could do it. It happens all the time now with cross promotional items and websites and double opt-ins and every other piece of online marketing out there. The more they know about you, the more targeted the offer!

Chew on that for a bit. Building you own magazine with your own preferred content and your own preferred advertisers. The only thing standing in the way is speed and ease of use. I sense another slipstream opportunity here for the remora like companies who build their products on the basis of other companies products. So let’s just see what happens. Either way, Google is certainly keeping it interesting.

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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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