free html hit counter Mayer to Location: Big. - John Battelle's Search Blog

Mayer to Location: Big.

By - October 12, 2010


Today I was in a meeting with a number of consultants to a very large technology company. Their job: market research, essentially. They called to ask me my thoughts on the media and technology world, in particular as it might play out in the next five or so years. They were responsible for helping the Fortune 50 company navigate an increasingly complicated world.

I love these kind of free association tasks, because while it’s not easy to be right, it’s also pretty easy to not be wrong if the questions are smart. I’ve been a student of technology cycles for a couple of decades, and often times what’s directly in front of you is, in fact, the next big thing.

So when I got this question: “What’s the next big thing after social?” I didn’t lose a beat in answering: “Location.”

Now, many, many folks before me have been saying this for years. I’m in no way first. But I’m an early convert, in particular, as it relates to what I call the conversation economy. And the reason is simple: Once someone can declare where they are, they add extraordinary context to both search and social, and to their expectations of what a search or a social connection might yield. For an example, see The Gap Scenario.

In short, location is a key factor in the future of search, social, commerce, and media, among a lot of other things. And that’s why the news today that Google’s Marissa Mayer, long the VP of Search Products at Google, is taking over responsibilities for the location business, strikes me as a Big Deal.

Some have argued this is a demotion for Mayer, a Google stalwart and press favorite. But if in fact Google is “parking” Mayer in a “non job” due to her status as an early and long standing employee, I can’t imagine a more strategic area for her to park. And given Mayer’s success and wealth, I can’t imagine she’d stay at Google if she weren’t committed to a new role that she believes will be game changing. She has way too many other options, including, well, not working for as long as she’d like.

I for one don’t think that’s what is going on. Local is the most important signal to emerge in the database of intentions since the link. Once a consumer demands that businesses respond to their intent in the context of where they are, right now, well…the first to get that response right, wins.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

6 thoughts on “Mayer to Location: Big.

  1. FootBook says:

    May it be related to huge Google UI failures this year which were launched by Marisa Mayer? (Google background image, Google image search resembling Bing image search too much)

  2. For customers, location based services are becoming more and more important (and available. For businesses, it becomes less and less important where they are. This is a shift that has been going on since the start of commerce on the internet. In five/ten years time, location based services will be a commodity.

    (and btw: your captcha does not work in chrome browser)

  3. @ jerseys Can you find somewhere else to spam? Thanks.

    She is committed. Google has made her wealthy and for that she will always be loyal.

  4. John,
    Great insight.

    We are in the early days of the RealTime/Social/Mobile/Local world.

    I don’t know if Google will pull it off, but I thing they recognize the need to focus its best people along this thinking.

  5. Steve Jobs says:

    I don’t think location will be the next big thing as it comes with personal security. It may be a hit for some countries but definitely not worldwide. People in other countries are not that keen to broadcast to the whole world where they currently are. Location may only be good for business and not for personal use.

  6. Bob says:

    Opposite of a demotion… this is Google taking their toughest, strongest, smartest warrior and sending her out directly to take the next hill. Terminator II. She’s going to be a catalyst. Can’t wait!