More Evidence Google Is Coming Back To Digital Signage: It’s A DSE Sponsor Now
March 4, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Google raised a lot of eyebrows about seven years ago when it booked and kitted out a big footprint booth at the old Digital Signage Expo, but that was about a big a splash or impact the tech Godzilla made on the industry in the months and years that followed.
Now the company appears to be getting serious again about digital signage – with the DSE reboot – Digital Signage Experience – announcing that Google is a conference sponsor for the show set for mid-November in Las Vegas.
The sponsor announcement specifically names a product, as opposed to Google or Alphabet, as the sponsor. This tracks to recent news that a new version of the Chrome OS operating system – called Flex – see the cloud-oriented operating system and services no longer limited to just Chrome devices, like Chromeboxes, all-in-one displays and HDMI sticks.
With Flex, the pitch is that an Intel device – an Intel NUC, for example – can run Chrome OS, just like it runs Windows or Linux. That opens up the possibility to cut over to Chrome on an existing network of PC devices, or run blended networks that might have dedicated Chrome devices, but also PCs.
I have asked Google for more detail on what its plans are for Version 2.0 of its activity in digital signage and interactive kiosks, but have been told it will be more open to chat by summertime.
Chrome did not go away after that big splash in 2015, as several SMS software companies have included Chrome OS support among its variety of supported devices. A few companies – like Signagelive and Stratos Media – have a lot of software licenses on Chrome devices. But it is fair to say that given the sheer size, marketing muscle, awareness and user base of Google, the company would have been expected to be a much bigger player in signage. That didn’t happen, and I got a sense it was all a bit of a skunkworks effort back in 2015.
It’s own CMS – Chrome Sign Builder – was about as basic as basic got, at least in its early iteration. None of the people involved back then are still involved, though moving around within the company may be entirely normal.
So we shall see what happens this time. Tech giants don’t have an overly strong track record in this industry (setting aside the display manufacturers), probably because relative terms it’s a pretty small market when compared to verticals like education. But awareness and adoption of digital signage technology has also grown a lot in seven years.