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Musing On New Google Stock Sale

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Google has big plans for those big bucks, and WebProNews has uncovered a plan for you to consider.

“She watched the ads cycle by on the walls, until they were called to board by rows,” William Gibson writes of his protagonist, Chia Pet McKenzie, in the 1996 sci-fi novel ‘Idoru’. The notoriously anti-tech author has been prescient on a few issues in his novels. And maybe he’s onto something here, with regards to the scurrying denizens of the Googleplex.

The Mountain View company has a lot of cash on hand. Analysts cited in other news outlets have been scratching their heads about why Google would want to raise more money with a move that could devalue existing shares now.

This is the bit where we apply Occam’s Razor to Google and its financial model: advertising. The more places it can show ads, the greater rates it can command from advertisers. In the ancient newspaper medium, circulation drives ad rates, and publishers have been known to do everything they can to boost that circulation number.

Now we can speculate on Google’s need for cash. One swirling rumor contends that Google has been quietly buying up assets around the country to build its own wireless network. The effort sounds like that undertaken by Walt Disney when he employed numerous fronts and firms to buy up Orlando swampland for a theme park.

Once Google deployed such a network, they could run it as a massive national wireless ISP. But does Google, purveyors of the self-service advertising model, want that hassle? Arguments in favor of that say advertising would support it. Sure, and that would be part of the Google plan.

But there are more places to display advertising than computer screens. Like mobile phones. Google recently purchased the privately held and intensely secretive mobile software firm Android and its talented crew of engineers and developers.

A wireless rollout by Google, supporting a standard like WiMax, would give them access to computer screen and cell phones. Nothing beyond the realm of possibility yet, so let’s go there now, back to Chia standing around Sea-Tac waiting for her flight to Tokyo and watching ads circulate on the wall.

Back in mid-July, Fujitsu announced “bendable electronic paper,” with the ability to display vivid colors. Content displayed on this e-paper can be changed with what Fujitsu described as energy equivalent to the weak radiowaves used in contactless cards.

Radiowaves, as in wireless radio waves. So here’s the hypothesis: Google bought Android not only for their potential on the small screen, but to develop a way to receive transmitted ads on electronic paper. Google takes the new stock cash and starts buying up firms like outdoor advertising company Lamar.

E-paper goes up on billboards, on buses, on buildings far removed from Times Square or Tokyo. Via its wireless network, Google can deliver targeted advertising tailored to zip codes, or even streets, within a city, tuned to specific times and days.

How can Google measure the effectiveness of these ads? By using its wireless network to allow people to interact with an ad via their laptop or cell phone. AvantGo does this now, by delivering ads to PDA subscribers where users can click for more information to be retrieved the next time they sync the PDA. This method removes the wait for the next sync, it can happen on the spot.

Far-fetched? Unbelievable? Possibly, but it is only speculation on a Friday. Is anything truly unthinkable with technology today? Oh well. I look forward to being proven wrong, right after Google buys CNET with the money raised in the new stock offering, of course.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Musing On New Google Stock Sale
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