The below thread fired up my imagination and subsequently this post.
Google manager: “We’re the biggest email host in the world. What big email problems need solving?”
Engineer: “Spam, identity, security, filtering, prioritization, overload…”
Manager: “Wait. I have a much better idea!” https://t.co/4oj5dDatyb
— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) February 14, 2018
While many others denounced the project, in the larger scheme of things (pun intended), I strongly believe this product makes a lot of sense.
- It could serve as a potential new revenue generation channel. With Google serving multiple programmatic ads; if users end up using the app in their email itself, Google gets to know more details on the products that have a claim on the users’ attention. Essentially, the project serves as an additional data layer on users’ behavior, thereby feeding back into their programmatic advertising and video advertising systems, and improving targeting scores.
- Facebook has recently been coming under a bit of a fire for not only acquiring, but also discreetly pushing Onavo, a VPN app as a feature on the Facebook app itself. While privacy gets thrown to the dogs here, the ulterior motive was to be able to figure out the latest trending apps / sites / products that could be picking up steam among different segments, countries, etc. In essence, spot the competition before anybody else does, and either buy them or kill them. The tbh acquisition was also a result of a similar sniff/spot/kill strategy. This Google product serves the purpose of a similar defensive weapon. Gather data on the competition and then take a call on how to defend the company.
- The project helps in evangelizing Google’s own AMP technology, thereby creating the perfect flywheel. As more people use the product, the technology improves, the data helps improve the advertisement serving system, and improves Google’s top line, which in turn brings in flexibility to invest in such projects.
If even a small percent of users end up utilizing the above, it could lead to a satisfaction of the projected metrics / revenues, marking the project as a successful endeavor.
- This is a humble attempt to reverse engineer the thought process behind this product’s strategy.
- The author is a supporter in the fight for privacy. The post does not in any way whatsoever, support the collection of every actionable data point on users.
- The author currently does not have all the requisite numbers to back the above line of thought. However, the post will be updated once the requisite data is available.