Google’s Ad Chief Talks Up Local

If there were any doubts that Google is dead serious about local, those doubts were dissipated by VP of Advertising Sales Tim Armstrong during a Feb. 1 keynote address to the Software and Information Industry Association’s Summit in New York.

Until recently, local “has been a big challenge,” said Armstrong. But now, “it is probably one of the areas that is going to grow the fastest.”

Armstrong believes that local’s growth is likely to manifest itself in numerous ways. Just 170 terabytes of 5 million possible terabytes have been catalogued. Local stores, for instance, could be catalogued in terms of “physical stores,” “in-store mapping,” “co-op advertising,” and “inventory.” “Users want access to assets,” he said.

Product referrals and recommendations also play a major role in local’s future. As an example, Armstrong cited Peapod’s success in recommending different types of groceries based on past purchases.

Local commerce and content will also play prominently in next generation personal media networks, or as he calls it, “networks of one.” A typical consumer might have elements of dining, interior design and fashion in her personal media net, for instance. Imaging is another big trend anticipated by Google, which already has 20 million images on file. But Armstrong concedes that the service hasn’t figured out how to monetize it.