Last week, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt announced that co-founder Larry Page, who briefly served as CEO over a decade ago, would get the top job back in April. The announcement left many wondering what the leadership change would mean for the search giant's future, but Mr. Page dispelled all rumors with today's announcement.
"Ice cream. We're going to make ice cream," said Mr. Page. "We've done pretty much all we can do online. It's time to take those online lessons and apply them offline."
In a presentation to the media, Mr. Page explained how Google would utilize its repository of behavioral targeting knowledge in-store. Google will record and store consumers' purchases as well as analyze reactive psychometrics via patented facial and biometric detection technology at the point of purchase. Using this data, Google will serve ice cream tailored to each individual consumer.
The move has some concerned about privacy, since it is not clear where and how data of consumers' ice cream inclinations are kept.
"How do we know they're not going to be sharing that information with their partners or with the government?" said Alex Holmes, research director at Forrester Research. "It's not anyone's business if I like mint chocolate chip or Cherry Garcia."
"The reality is that on-premise software does retain consumer information for some time," said Mr. Schmidt. "We are all in the United States subject to the Patriot Act, so it is possible that information is made available. On the upside, this ice cream is gonna be crazy delicious."
Some consumers are confused about Google's transition.
"Google made this?" asked Lela, a 24-year-old law student who tried the experimental ice cream as part of an initial focus group. "Where's the search bar?"
Already, ice cream purveyors are aflutter about potential anti-competitive takeovers of national ice cream chains like Dairy Queen, Carvel and Baskin Robbins. The Competitive Commission says it is keeping a close eye on Google's whereabouts in ice cream.
Mr. Page says that Google doesn't need acquisitions to make its foray into the ice cream industry, but that, if they wanted, they could buy them all, including the Competitive Commission and the American government, because they are "insanely rich."
Cross-posted at Dailypygmy.com
Follow Pablo Andreu on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PabloDAndreu