Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Which Google Products Make Money?

Below overview checks which Google products directly make money for Google in terms of being paid for by the user, or having ads or affiliate links. Indirect effects on revenues (as well as some other things) are disregarded for this purpose, but not because the effects are necessarily neglible.* The table is just an estimate – if you see ommissions or misses please comment and I’ll update the table.

 paid/ member?runs AdWords?affiliate links?notes
Google Web SearchxxImagine the extra cash Google could make by adding their affiliate ID to links pointing to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other miscellaneous shopping sites. If you enter Romeo & Juliet into Google and then buy the book, Google would get their share of the sale. This would come at the expense of neutrality and karma, and it might make new enemies because the commission money would be taken away from Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc.
Google Image SearchxxAds currently seem to be limited to the US.
Google Blog Searchxxx 
Google Newsxxx 
Google AdWordsxxYou can set your own budget for ad campaigns.
Google AdSensexxGoogle AdSense pays webmasters a commission from ad clicks. It serves from ad campaigns launched in the AdWords systems, though the AdSense site itself is ad-free.
Google mobile servicesxxThere’s the Google Mobile Ads program part of AdWords, YouTube mobile tested ads, and there’s AdSense for Mobile.
FeedBurnerxxAdSense for Feeds inserts ads into FeedBurner
YouTubexxAds are shown in videos on the site and embedded ones, as well as next to videos on the site.
Google EarthpartlyxxGoogle Earth is available as a free, as an “Advanced” version for $400, and as an enterprise version.
Google Mapsxx 
Google Maps APIpartlyxxThe basic Google Maps API is free but the “Google Maps API Premier” program is the paid version.
Google DocspartlyxxGoogle Apps includes Google Docs and is paid.
GmailpartlyxAs above, Google Apps includes Gmail. Google does not affiliatize links to shops sent in emails; imagine if they did.
Google Shared StoragexxThis program allows you to buy extra storage for use in other Google products, like Gmail. (Is there any other program besides Gmail and Picasa Web Albums for which this can be used for?) The current pricing is 10 GB for $20.00/ year up to 400 GB for $500/ year.
Google Notebookxxx 
iGooglexxxiGoogle is the customized flavor of the Google homepage. Like the Google homepage, it doesn’t run ads (except those within specific gadgets), though as opposed to the Google homepage at least on iGoogle there would be content to target an ad to.
Google AnswersxThe Q&A service is now discontinued, but AdWords – pretty visible ones too – are still running on the archived site (of which around 219,000 pages are indexed in Google).
Picasa Web AlbumspartlyxxYou can pay for extra storage for your photos by paying for the Google Shared Storage program, which is listed separately in this table.
Google TalkxxxGoogle Talk is available as a desktop as well as a web based program. Links pasted into the chat are not affiliatized.
Google Groupsxx 
Google Directoryxxx 
Google CatalogsxxxAlmost deserted, but still available.
Google Analyticsxxx 
UrchinxxUrchin is the paid desktop sibling of Google Analytics. A 30-day demo is available for free.
OrkutxpartlyxAt least in India, text ads are displayed.
Google Basexxx 
Google CalendarpartlyxxAvailable for free but also part of paid Google Apps.
Google Scholarxxx 
Google Shared StuffxxxAnother exotic page.
Google Desktopxxx 
Google Book SearchxxSometimes, Google Books runs ads.
Google PatentsxxxGoogle Patents indexes and organizes patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office
Google Translatexxx 
Google AppsxxGoogle Apps Premier Edition costs $50 per user per year.
GrandCentralxxxSomeone told me this service is free, and ad free.
Google VideopreviouslyxxGoogle Video doesn’t include ads (only insofar as it shows embedded YouTube video ads it might). Previously, Google Video had a paid (DRM) videos section, but it was cancelled (breaking the videos you had acquired, in DRM tradition).
Google ChromexxxGoogle could show ads in a browser, like Opera once did (I’m not saying that would be a good idea, just pointing out the possibility). Ads could also be targetted to the page you’re visiting. A browser could also theoretically (devilishly I guess) rewrite non-affiliatized links to shops to include an affiliate ID.
Google ToolbarxxxSimilar to above, a toolbar could rewrite pages to affiliatize links, and it could also use its limited space to show ad links.
Google Webmaster Toolsxxx 
Google China Music Search???You need a Chinese proxy as Google China Music geochecks your IP and blocks it if outside China. Things like ringtones available from the service may or may not be related to an affiliate partnership, but I have trouble accessing the site right now.
Google Moderatorxxx 
Google Trendsxxx 
Google Insights for Searchxxx 
Google Ride Finderxxx 
Google Setsxxx 
Google Accessible Searchxx 
Google ReaderxxxNo direct Google ads, though Google AdSense for Feeds ads or other RSS-ads might appear in Reader.
Google MinixxAka the Google Mini Search Appliance for nearly $3000, and the Google Search Appliance.
KnolxxAds are shown in some articles. Authors can connect their AdSense account to their Knol account to receive a share of the paid ad clicks.
Google Product SearchxxFormerly known as Froogle. I asked Google and they tell me they don’t make any affiliate share from any of the organic result links of the program. (Google Checkout is somewhat pushed in Product Search, and Checkout gets a share from sales, though.)
Google Financexx 
Google HomepagexxxGoogle sometimes runs self-promotions on their homepage, but there’s no regular place for directly paid third-party product ads so far.
Google Sitesxxx 
Google China Dictionary???This desktop tool, partnered with Kingsoft, is in Chinese. Do you know more about whether it contains parts which make Google money?
Google Photos ScreensaverxxxThis is part of the Google Pack installation bundle.
SketchUppartlyx?SketchUp is available in a free version. SketchUp Pro on the other hand costs €331 (with an 8-hour trial). The Google SketchUp tutorial books section contains links to Amazon but I’m not sure whether they’re affiliatized.
Google 3D WarehousexxxThis is for 3D models used in SketchUp (above).
Google Chinese Pinyin IMExxxThis is the Input Method Editor for Chinese users, converting pinyin to Chinese characters.
BloggerxpartlyxYou can run your own AdSense ads in Blogger, of which Google would make a share. Blogger once had a paid premium version (Blogger Pro) but it has been discontinued. In 2001, then non-Google owned Blogger wrote, “Blogger Pro is for users who are willing to pay for increased reliability, higher performance, new tools, and advanced features and flexibility. ... The planned price for Blogger Pro $50/year (per user). However! Since we are still building out the functionality, the cost will be $35 for a year for users who sign up now.”
Dodgeball???This Google-aquired mobile social network service is not honed much within Google, its founders (who left Google at one time) suggested. Does anyone know more about where this service might make money?
Google Site Search?xA search service for your site or sites. Ranges from $100/ year (for up to 5,000 pages) to $2,250/ year (for up to 300,000, according to Google); prices beyond that need can be privately discussed with Google.
Google Custom Search EnginexxThis is the free site search variant (see above).
Google Friend Connectxx?xDoes anyone know if Friend Connect features ads anywhere?
JaikuxxI’m being told this Google-acquired service currently does not have paid options, but has ads.
Google Indic TransliterationxxxAvailable at
Google Arabic TransliterationxxxAt
AndroidxxxAndroid is the Google-led open source mobile OS framework and getting its code base does thus not require payment.
Google App EnginelikelyxxApp Engine is and will be free for starters but Google announced in the future, you can unlock new quota limits by paying. Google’s expected pricing was announced to be “$0.10 - $0.12 per CPU core-hour ... $0.15 - $0.18 per GB-month of storage ... $0.11 - $0.13 per GB outgoing bandwidth ... $0.09 - $0.11 per GB incoming bandwidth”.
Google Subscribed Linksxxx 
Google Mashup Editorxxx 
Google Web Toolkitxxx 
Google MarsxxxSee
Google MoonxxxSee
Google SkyxxxSee
Google Transitxxx 
Google AlertsxxxNot to be confused with, which predates Google Alerts and is paid (from a free trial up to nearly $20/ month).
Google Checkoutpartly?xFrom a buyer perspective Google Checkout is free, but sellers need to pay a commission (unless they run their product offering as AdWords).
Google Life China   As far as I can see there are no ads in Shenghuo, Google’s knowledge search for Chinese users.
Google Site Navigation ChinaxxxDaohang is a web directory for Chinese users. I don’t see any ads on it.
Tianya Q&A China   Wenda is part of Google-powered Chinese Tianya.
Tianya Come Here ChinaxxxLaiba is a Google-powered social network part of Tianya. I’m being told it doesn’t contain ads.
Gapminder websitexxx 
Google mobile converterxxxThis proxy converts pages to a more bare-bones version suited for contexts like mobile browsing.
Google AJAX API?xxDoes the AJAX API ever insert ads these days?
Google SMS Channels IndiaxxxThis free service lets you subscribe to SMS information.

*Take Google News, for instance: even though it’s ad-free, the service may bring more users which then also visit other ad-supported Google sites; it powers some ad-supported services like the Google AJAX API; adding ads may have costs of more people attacking the service questioning its fair use of thumbnail usage, and so on. Or imagine the negative effects on usage and thus ad clicks if Google were to make their web search a premium service, for paying members only.
Background partnerships in which money or goods flow in either direction are also disregarded, e.g. I don’t know who pays whom (if so) in the Google - TIME relationship that triggered the Google LIFE Photo Archive, I also don’t know what YouTube partners pay for getting special pages. Also, not counting as ads for the purpose of this table are cross-promotions within Google products. What Danny Sullivan calls “paid exclusion” (i.e. Google making money in China while letting the Chinese government tell it which sites not to show in search results) is also disregarded for this table.


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!