Google Exits Radio but Will Explore Online Streaming Audio

Thursday, February 12, 2009 | 1:49 PM

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At Google we've never shied away from high-risk, high-reward projects. We believe that making big bets is not only in the best interests of our users and partners, but also important for our long term success. In 2006, we launched Google Audio Ads and Google Radio Automation to create a new revenue stream for broadcast radio, produce more relevant advertising for listeners and streamline the buying and selling of radio ads. While we've devoted substantial resources to developing these products and learned a lot along the way, we haven't had the impact we hoped for.

So we have decided to exit the broadcast radio business and focus our efforts in online streaming audio. We will phase out the existing Google Audio Ads and AdSense for Audio products and plan to sell the Google Radio Automation business, the software that automates broadcast radio programming. Advertisers will continue to be able to use Google Audio Ads until May 31 and broadcasters will be able to publish inventory to Google until that date as well. We will work with partners to make sure that there is as little disruption to their business as possible and will work to find a buyer for the Google Radio Automation business.

Instead we will use our technology to develop Internet-based solutions that will deliver relevant ads for online streaming audio. We are dedicating a team of people at Google to explore how we can best add value for advertisers, broadcasters and listeners in this emerging advertising space. In addition, we will continue to invest in our growing TV advertising business, where we can measure audience response and help advertisers understand how effective their ads are.

We regret the impact these plans will have on the Googlers working on these projects. We hope to find other roles for the majority of the people concerned and will work to make that happen over the next couple of months. However, given that we are exiting the broadcast radio ad business and selling the Radio Automation business, we expect that up to 40 people may not be able to find other roles at Google.

We have always accepted that if you take risks not all of them will pay off. Deciding to close products is never easy, but we will continue to focus on advertising products that provide measurability for advertisers, and are relevant and useful for users, listeners and viewers.

Update 8/5/09: WideOrbit has purchased Google's radio automation assets.

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, VP, Product Management