Trend: Internet search and television could take advertising to a new level of personalization.
Robert X. Cringely speculates about Google's ultimate goal. This strategy might be the source of the great optimism about Google's stock price.
How often do you see an ad on TV for something you're currently in the market for? I'm guessing almost never. But imagine if everyone watching "American Idol" only saw ads for things they might really buy? Or, better yet, only saw ads for things they had already expressed an interest in? The value of those same 30-second commercial slots would increase by orders of magnitude.
Google is going to let the telco and cable companies burn their capital building out IP-TV, knowing that Google will still be the only game in town for the crux of the whole thing: the ability to show every viewer the specific ads that companies will pay the most to show him at that specific moment. What Google wants to do with these trailers is SERVE EVERY TV COMMERCIAL ON THE PLANET because only they will be able to do it efficiently. Only they will have the database that converts those IP addresses into sales leads, only they will have the servers and disk space close enough to the viewers to feed the ads. Only Google will have the chops to run a constant, real-time auction for the next ad every consumer is about to see, and then serve that ad at the moment the program goes to commercial.
Suddenly, everybody can (and, really, must) advertise on TV, because it'll be so specific...and so dynamic.
...Google will cut a deal with every network to customize their ad spots for every viewer. For a small cut of their ad revenues, Google will handle all customization costs, hardware and software. The networks will all go along because the customized ads will be so much more profitable that it would make no sense for any network to refuse.
If I'm right, Google's current business will have been nothing more than a great test-bed for what will turn out to be their real business, which will be IP-TV ads. Program choice is just the Trojan horse that will be used to sell this to viewers; the essence of the IP-TV buildout is the fully domesticated consumer.
Far scarier, of course, is that Google will be handling all political advertising, and will eventually be helping networks customize their news offerings, too.