1. A renewed focus on search (yes, we are still about search, says Marissa in a new blog post). This was a clear message: We differentiate on search, we lead in search, we live by search. Clearly, the competitive differentiation was important to get across.
2. An expansion of what search means. With Trends, Google is finally starting to mine the Database of Intentions for the obvious value it contains. With Co-Op, it’s starting to mine intentional clickstream. These two signals are critical to advances in search.
3. An attempt to remind an increasingly querlous press corps of what makes Google special. The corny video, the explanation of how Google works, the reminders about the founder’s letter, the homey anecdotes about innovation in omlette preparation – all designed to strengthen the company’s image as unique in the field.
4. A clear nod toward increased competition and a move into the messy world of people over machines. Mainstream press coverage of the announcements focused on Schmidt’s claim that the market is not a winner take all world (and I heard the same from Jonathan Miller of AOL yesterday when we met). But the fact is, Google must play where the others play, and more “web 2.0” apps like social search (Co Op), bookmarking (Notebook) and user generated content (Co Op, Base, Finance, and Notebook) are clear moves into worlds where Yahoo, Ebay and Amazon have stronger plays. (Gary calls Co-Op “Google Base for Web Pages” – a nice observation.)
5. Overall, the stuff Google showed was interesting, but not particularly unique. Neat hacks, pointers to future directions, but not…major. But is that required for a press event? Nah.