Alphabet at Credit Suisse Conference Notes

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Sridhar Ramaswamy – Senior Vice President, Ads and Commerce of Google Inc.

Machine learning has been an integral part of our system since 2003. New methods have come along.

“machine learning has been an integral part of the ad system pretty much since the time I joined. And gosh that was like 2003. And as new ways of machine learning whether it is algorithm based on boosting or more recently algorithm based on deep learning and neural network have been developed. We are often either an early adopters of this technology. And so deep learning and neural networks now are an integral part of how ads are served both on search and on display. ”

Trying to figure out how to run ads with maps

“It’s still super early. We are very conscious of the need to be again very thoughtful about user experience and user value. And efforts announced and some of the reporters were like oh are you going to show ads that are driving direction that might be distracting. So we are still iterating on the format. We are running a number of experiments. It’s pretty early to say anything definite about it. But it is an area that we’ll continue to invest in.”

As we move to a voice driven world, the days of three top text ads are a thing of the past

“We are keeping an open mind about the kind of monetization opportunity that they are going to be. I think it can range from being purely transactional meaning we make it convenient for you to fulfill a transaction with this assistance or it can involve promotion. But one thing that we are all clear about is the days of three top text ads followed by 10 organic results is a thing of the past in the voice driven world. So we are very much keeping an open mind on what this needs to be and focusing much more on what’s the consumer experience, it’s scale, we’ll figure that as we talk about.”

Our way to fight adblock will have to start with making a better ad experience

“Yes. It is a real problem. And as you correctly point out it is consumer-ish. I think there are still too many site in which the ad experience is pretty ad. Whether its ads that start auto playing a video or ads that completely color up a screen and you can’t quite find the ad, all of us have been through it and it can be very frustrating. So we announced recently just a couple of months ago that we are going to be a part of coalition that the IAB in New York which is a US advertising body, we are starting, this is coalition for better ad. We are working with them to come up with a quantitative standard for what an acceptable ad experience is going to be. And then we want to work with a larger ecosystem of browsers for example to make sure that there is pressure and self regulation on the part of advertisers and publishers to only lead on that consumer don’t find offensive. I think that is very, very sorely needed and we think that’s the right way out of this current problem. I think without self policing there is going to be more and more bad experiences and more and more consumers turning off ad kind of across the whole. And I think frankly all of us suffer because it is going to drive a lot of small publishers that are valuable site that you and I use on a regular basis out of business. ”