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Google: Tablet Ads Might Bring a Windfall

Stocks in this article: GOOG

By Jon Fortt, CNBC, Tech Correspondent

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- Earlier this week at Google's (GOOG) I/O Conference, I spent some time with Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president for social.

Don't let his title fool you: Gundotra has quite a history in mobile, having led Google's mobile app and advertising efforts before new CEO Larry Page put him in charge of strengthening Google's weakest flank. (Google has foundered in social media as Facebook has risen.)

In my one-on-one with Gundotra, he gave some intriguing stats about smartphone growth, tablet monetization, and how Google plans to cash in.

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An edited transcript:

CNBC: One of the concerns of the financial community is that while Google is still growing by leaps and bounds, spending is growing, too in areas like mobile. Can you give more color on how mobile is starting to emerge as more of a business?

Gundotra: We announced about six months ago that the mobile search business had exceeded a billion-dollar run rate. That business continues to track with smartphone sales. We're very optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of the business as consumers move to smartphones and do searches on those smartphones just like they did on the desktop. In addition to search, however, we think there are many other exciting revenue streams.

CNBC: You said tracking smartphone sales, but in your hand you're holding an Android tablet. What about tablet sales? Is that a display ad opportunity?

Gundotra: That's a great question. The tablet device is a bigger device. Our data shows that a tablet device seems to have the same kind of monetization as a desktop. It's even more like a desktop than a smartphone. We're not exactly sure of the reasons why. We think maybe people spend more time on it, it's easier to read, people spend more time browsing and searching, less task oriented than they might be on a smartphone. So we think the explosion of tablet sales also gives us an opportunity that may, in fact, from a monetization standpoint, be even bigger than that of smartphones. So it's kind of early -- we don't know for sure and we don't want to be premature in jumping to conclusions -- but the early indications are super encouraging.

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