If it wasn’t official before, it is now. Google self-advertises:
In the latest shot fired in Google Inc.’s ongoing battle with Microsoft Corp., Google announced today that it’s taking this fight to the streets.
Google is kicking off a month-long ad campaign for its online suite of enterprise office applications. The campaign will have the search giant leasing billboard space in four major U.S. cities — New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. Each work day will have a different message for commuters to take in.
Each day there will be a different message. Each day! This is no small self-advertising undertaking.
Does anyone remember when the lack of self-advertisement was one of the primary points of pride for the company? We’re not talking 10 years ago. Even as recently as SIGIR 2008, Kai Fu Lee stated in front of an audience of 500+ people that Google categorically does not self-advertise. Just a few months before that, Google’s VP of Marketing was interviewed by Business Week:
Essentially, [Google Marketing VP David Lawee] says, Google subscribes to a philosophy of branding by doing: creating products that many people love rather than shouting about them in ads. In a recent conversation with BusinessWeek‘s Silicon Valley bureau chief Robert Hof, Lawee talked about some of the unusual methods Google uses to promote its brand: How does Google think about its brand? The honest answer is that the first thing we think about is our products. First and foremost, we’re always thinking about what’s best for the user. We have a true north that’s always easy to touch back to
So by shouting about the product in billboards, does that mean people don’t love Google Office? Or does it mean that Google is no longer thinking first and foremost about what is best for the user, but first and foremost about brand? What’s the next long-held, deeply-felt core company philosophical principle to be let go? User privacy?
Google is not acting very Googly.
Update: See a humorous take on the campaign.