Maybe you have your own thoughts about how Google is trying (officially or otherwise) to maintain its position as premier search engine.
Recently I’ve noticed a trend on TV ads where, instead of providing a direct web address, they invite the viewer to “search online forâ€¦”. However, they don’t specify which search engine you should use â€” merely that you should go online.
Obviously, this approach means that they’re fairly confident that the proposed search term will bring up their website. I wonder if they’re also assuming that most people will use Google?
Last week I saw for the first time a direct ad for Google. At the end of an advert for a pet insurance company, a Google page appeared on screen with the voiceover “Search on Google for Pet Plan”.
I don’t know whether Pet Plan has a deal with Google, or they just decided to promote the search engine, or in fact whether Google is targeting some products and tacking its own five second ad on the end. It’s the first and only time I’ve seen it.
Does Google really need to advertise on UK TV?
Interestingly, TV broadcasters are often quite sensitive about mentioning real brands (including online ones) in programmes, because they can be accused of product placement. There’s even a UK company that creates fake online services for the times that someone on a TV drama needs to search the Internet, use a dating site, or such like. It’s really quite amusing.
However, the other day (again, for the first time), a character on a BBC drama mentioned that they were going to “Google” something.
Not unusual in itself â€” we all know that “to google” has become part of the language â€” but I wonder if this slipped past the script and programme editors or was a deliberate placement?
I’d be less surprised if Microsoft started advertising Bing in the UK (though I’d probably fall off my chair if I ever heard “I’m just going to Bing it” in any drama other than a Friends spinoff).
Does Google need to advertise? Are other companies helping Google, even inadvertently because “to google” is such a part of the British psyche?
I don’t know the answers, but I wonder if Microsoft has noticed and is thoroughly annoyed about the whole thing.
What do you think?