During Google’s (GOOG) third quarter earnings conference call Thursday, one message came out loud and clear: Google’s mobile strategy is starting to pay off. “Android adoption is about to explode,” declared CEO Eric Schmidt, explaining that all the “necessary conditions” are set for growth: There are now 12 Android phones out there (most recently the Motorola Cliq) across 32 carriers in 26 countries.
The whole Android strategy, of course, is to offer a low-cost, fully-featured, open-source OS and hand that to the cell phone manufacturers so that they can concentrate more on designing desirable hardware. And what does Google get out of all that? More mobile searches, which could be one of its biggest sources of growth in the coming years.
Already, Google is teasing at what may be in store. During the call, Google executive mentioned at least three times that mobile searches on Google were up 30 percent from the second quarter. Of course, they wouldn’t say how many total mobile searches there were or what percentage of all searches they represent (probably still a very small subset), but they are very bullish about the company’s mobile prospects.
In response to a question about how material mobile searches are to Google, CFO Patrick Pichette replied:
Again, we don’t give the detail numbers. On a quarter over quarter basis, mobile searches grew 30% on Google. It tells you something about the mobile space, the smartphones, and how they are transformative. They are basically transforming how people live on a mobile basis. If we move forward the adoption of these mobile phones by lowering the cost because it is open source, think of how many searches [that will produce].
The way he put it, by making Android open source, Google is hoping to accelerate the adoption of Web-capable smartphones and get everyone searching on them. Given that most analysts expect more than 70 percent of mobile advertising to be search, you can see why Google’s CFO can’t wait to get as many search-friendly Android phones into consumers hands as possible.