In a new post on the official Google Research blog, 20 professors spanning 3 universities -- Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Technion -- have just been awarded research grants to "advance the understanding of market algorithms and Internet economics." Although Google has nobly noted what they hope this research will result in, how Google as a company plans on using the results of this study is unclear. I'd just about bet the farm on it having something to do with them figuring out new monetization models to deepen their already-deep pockets -- especially when taking into consideration how much they're most likely shelling out for this research. But that's just speculation on behalf of my ulterior motive gauge.
To quote the post:
In the past two decades, we have seen the Internet grow from a scientific network to an economic force that positively affects the global economy. E-commerce, online advertising, social networks and other new online business models present fascinating research questions and topics of study that can have a profound impact on society.
The post later continues:
These grants will foster collaboration and interdisciplinary research by bringing together world renowned computer scientists, engineers, economists and game theorists to analyze complex online auctions and markets. Together, they will help bring this area of study into mainstream academic scientific research, ultimately advancing the field to the benefit of the industry at large.
I find it particularly interesting that they're making this research such a public affair, but I'm all for transparency. In addition to the aforementioned, Google goes on to talk about online advertising, how it utilizes "principles from algorithmic game theory and online auctions," and how advertisers and publishers stand to potentially benefit from a "better understanding of the strategies and dynamics behind online auctions, the main driving tool of Internet advertising."
Indeed, that translates to more money being made via all the channels of online advertising Google utilizes. The great thing about online advertising is that Google isn't the only one who profits. AdSense publishers and AdWords advertisers could certainly benefit from this research with even more ultra-targeted ads and ad placements in currently untapped avenues.
Thinking of the bigger picture, if Google really does intend on the results of this research being a wide-spread industry affair, this means that everyone from Google to Bing to affiliate networks and otherwise could improve the quality, placement, and utilization of ads, campaigns, and similar monetization avenues. For those of you who aren't in the ad arena, this all equates to not just corporations potentially benefiting, but John and Jane Does utilizing Google AdSense, affiliate networks, and likewise to monetize their Web real estate.
I, for one, will certainly be keeping track of where this research leads. 3 years is a lot of time to dedicate towards a study like this, so I hope Google plans on checking in with us every so often to let us know of the progress made. What do you think could come of all this? For those of you in this field, what do you think the primary focuses should be for the professors who will lead this research?