Google (GOOG) Puts Rare Advertisement on Homepage

August 28, 2012 12:36 PM EDT
Think Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) homepage might be the most valuable Internet advertising property? We're about to find out.

In a rare move Tuesday, Google is advertising on its homepage. The ad is for its new Nexus 7 media tablet. In the ad, the Nexus pops up from near the bottom of the page and "The playground is open. The new $199 tablet from Google." appears above the Nexus 7 (which only has the top third exposed). So, what does this mean for Google?

Well, for starters, Nexus 7 sales might not be as hot as expected. Google unveiled the tablet on June 27th, with a store for the product set-up immediately to accept pre-orders.

This isn't the first time Google pushed a product on its homepage. Previous efforts include the Nexus One smartphone and Motorola Droid. However, this is a much larger ad with a portion of the device peeking up from below.

But, Nexus One sales didn't pan out quite as well as expected. While Google still commands a dominant search position, many might question how much traffic goes through its home page. Ever use Firefox or Chrome for Internet browsing purposes (we're not sure what other purposes you might be using Firefox for, but keep those to yourself)? You can easily search at the top of the browser. No need to go to the homepage. Multiple Google-backed efforts -- including Maps, Gmail, and Calendar -- are also included on a navigation bar at the top of the browser display area.

So, while Google has a competitive product on its hands, the broader question is whether its homepage is as valuable to advertise on as it was even one year ago? Another question might be: does it even matter anymore?

All it really wants to do is sell a tablet. Shares are up 1.2 percent Tuesday afternoon.

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