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Google euthanizes radio ad biz

One trick Mountain View pony

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There's no denying Google has a talent for building a monopoly in the search-ad biz. The question whether it has a talent for anything else.

Less than a month after murdering its print ad programs, Google has given up on radio ads as well. This morning, with an Official Google blog post, the company said it will soon "phase out" its two-year-old Google Audio Ads and AdSense for Audio programs. And with radio ads disappearing, it hopes to offload the radio automation software it built for ad-space-selling broadcasters.

"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," wrote VP of product management Susan Wojicki.

"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."

As a result, Google expects to lay off around 40 employees. "We regret the impact these plans will have on the Googlers working on these projects," Wojicki continued. "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."

But even after failing with both prints ads and radio, Google believes it can still make money with television ads. Wojicki said the company will continue to invest in its Google TV Ads program, which lets marketing types serve up TV advertising from their online Google AdWords accounts.

In the past, Google has argued it knows more about TV advertising than the TV types. But it's still struggling to solve that ad conundrum over at YouTube.

Some might argue that even if Google's ad talents stop at search, it has a knack for online software, platforms, and APIs. But if you've actually used apps like Gmail or Google Docs, this is hard to say with a straight face.

Last month, as it continued to trim the fat that's built up over the years, the company said it was murdering or semi-murdering Google Catalog Search, Google Video, Google Notebook, Google Dodgeball, and Google Mashup Editor - not to mention Jaiku, the Twitter rival it paid $12m for in October 2007.

Chrome? Uh, it's a web browser. App Engine? A closed cloud is never a good idea. The search engine? It's great if you wanna read Wikipedia.

Google does have the talent for building data centers. We think. Has anyone actually seen one? ®

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