Does Google’s Developer Get-Together Matter to Madison Avenue?

The company's agency envoy explains why it should

Google this week held its annual Google I/O conference for developers, during which it showed off Google Glass X Games-style, unveiled its own tablet and streaming media device, party-rocked Google+ and brought its Chrome browser to the iPad and iPhone, among other announcements. That’s cool for tech junkies, but why should agencies care? Torrence Boone, Google’s managing director of agency business development, has some answers.

Adweek: Why should agencies care about Google I/O?

Torrence Boone: Agencies should care about I/O because we have announced the next generation of products and innovations on our platforms that will allow them to do even more extraordinary work for their clients.

You guys have been announcing a lot during I/O, from Google Glass to Nexus 7 and Nexus Q to Google+ Events to Chrome for iOS. What’s the top takeaway for agencies?

The best way to think about all of these things is they’re an expansion of the toolkit that we’re providing agencies to create immersive, breakthrough, compelling brand experiences for their clients. I like to think of Google as a stage where we enable this fantastic play to unfold, and the agencies are doing that with their clients and we’re providing all of the props and the lighting and the backdrops and all of those enablers that allow agencies and clients to put on this fantastic show ultimately for consumers. So that’s one metaphor that brings it to life. If you think about the Nexus 7 and what that platform implies for big, immersive brand experiences, I think it’s an extraordinary opportunity for agencies to do amazing work, and that’s what we’re focusing on.

After yesterday’s update to Google Play was announced that brings magazines into the mix, we posted a piece that quoted a Rodale executive who liked having another option in digitizing the company's publications. How do you see that relating to agencies in terms of the work they can do?

A couple of things on that point. What’s great about what we’re announcing at I/O is that, again, it’s providing the agencies with this amazing Toolkit. If you think about what great advertising is, it’s all about storytelling. That’s a truism, and I think that will continue on for a long time. It used to be that technology was behind creativity. If you think just three years ago, there were all of these fantastic creative things that agencies wanted to do, but our platforms and the technology just weren’t there to accommodate it. What we’re seeing now is that in many ways the technology is ahead of our creativity, so we’re innovating at a pace that provides all of these new options, new toys, for agencies to play with and to experiment with that allow them to tell those stories in more compelling and immersive ways. If you think about the evolution of the first banner advertisement that ran on the Web and you look at the creative possibilities unlocked by Nexus 7 and HTML5 and the innovations that we’re driving with Chrome and all of the opportunities afforded by cloud computing, there’s a dynamism that is at play with technology that gives creatives and agencies in general much more to work with and the technology is an enabler in a way that it’s never been before. So it should be an exciting time because it will allow a tremendous amount of experimentation, and I think we’ll see even more amazing work because there’s more technology and more tools to play with. I also think coming after Cannes is interesting. We had a large presence in Cannes, and what was extraordinary to me was that agencies and marketers are getting much more facile and comfortable with technology and they’re using it to tell much more compelling stories. The awards that were the standout examples of that were things like Nike FuelBand, which interestingly enough is an evolution of existing technology but it is a brand story built in an incredibly compelling way. And it’s more about the experience and that brand impact than it is about the technology. Ironically technology is ahead of creativity, but I think agencies are becoming more facile with it, and it’s allowing them to do things that they’ve known how to do for a very long time, which is tell compelling stories.