During today’s conference call discussing Google’s second-quarter earnings, company executives offered some perspective on what the Android mobile operating system means to the larger organization.
An analyst on the call asked for more details about Android from a business perspective and whether Google sees it as a big moneymaker. Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said the important thing about Android is that most of the “key products” are not made by Google — in other words, the phones are built by device manufacturers by Motorola. So from a cost perspective, Pichette said Android is “not material.”
As for making money, Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president for product management and marketing, reiterated that Google’s goal is to bring more people to Web and to search, where the bulk of its revenue comes from.
“On these devices, the most popular app is the browser,” Rosenberg said.
Pichette added that mobile traffic to Google’s properties has grown 500 percent in the last two years, and Android has been “an accelerator” of that.
Another topic was Google-owned video site YouTube, which the company previously said described as being almost profitable. Has it hit profitability yet? Pichette declined to answer, except to give the non-specific comment, “We’re incredibly pleased by its trajectory.” As an illustration, he pointed to the fact that YouTube is getting 2 billion views per day.
Pichette also revealed that Google spent $100 million to fight Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, which Google recently won. He repeated Google’s spin on the case — that this is a victory for anyone who takes advantage of user-generated content. Asked how winning the case affects YouTube, Pichette said it’s too early to get specific, since Viacom is appealing the decision, but he said it creates “a clear bar” that gives YouTube more room for experimentation.
The executives also talked about Google’s core product, search. There have been reports recently that Google is losing marketshare in search to competitors like Microsoft Bing. Pichette noted that the methodology behind that data has been questioned and urged everyone to take those numbers with a grain of salt. When asked directly if he thinks Google is losing search share, Pichette simply said, “No.”