Google Gets A Tag Line: “Search, Ads & Apps”

To my knowledge, Google never had a tag line. Yesterday, it announced it had gained one: "Search, Ads & Apps." But wasn’t the tag line "Don’t Be Evil?" Or wasn’t it something about organizing the world’s information? Come along, and I’ll try to sort it out.

Google has a mission page, and the long-standing stated mission is:

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

That mission statement has never been used as a tag line, something you’d associate with the Google logo to explain what Google does. It has been the shorthand way Google has described itself, however.

Google also has what it calls an "informal" corporate motto:

Don’t be evil

As for a tag line, as I said, Google’s never had one that I know of. Reuters reports that it has now gained one:

Google Inc.’s corporate tagline has become "Search, Ads and Apps," reflecting a shift beyond search and advertising into online software applications, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters at the company’s headquarters ahead of Google’s annual shareholder meeting, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said his presentation to investors on Thursday afternoon would focus on the three parts of its business.

That formalizes what Schmidt had hinted at earlier this year in a Wired interview, though at least it keeps search in the mix. I was disappointed about that being missing, as I wrote earlier:

The "we’re a tech company" charade is over from the very top, with CEO Eric Schmidt finally calling Google recently in a Wired interview "an advertising company." As for the mission "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful," that’s not even listed in the four ways we’re told by him to think of Google:

  1. An advertising company
  2. An end-user system (to me, a combination operating system/super office suite of software)
  3. A giant supercomputer
  4. A social phenomenon

Back in 2005, I complained that the Google philosophy page had yet to reflect how Google had changed:

At the very least, the entire second point of the "Ten things Google has found to be true" items on that Our Philosophy page should go. That’s:

It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

That thing is supposedly "Google does search," but Blogger is search? Google Talk is search? AdSense is search? Selling print ads is search? Even if you buy into all of these being search, can so many different products and services be considered "one thing?"

I guess the tag line is part of that catching up process. But so far, no appearance of the tag line on the Google site that I can see.

Postscript: Google tells me:

We are not using “Search, Ads & Apps” as a formal corporate tag line nor associating it with our logo. For details, give a listen to Eric Schmidt’s remarks on this subject during the stockholders meeting yesterday.

Postscript 2: Google Press Day 2007 Q&A With CEO Eric Schmidt covers how in June, Eric Schmidt again used this tagline as — well, a tagline. So with respect to Google PR, Search Engine Land is deeming it as an official tagline.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Google: General


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Carsten Cumbrowski

    They do only “one thing” and the thing is called “everything”. I wanted to say “internet”, but since they do print and tv ads and play ISP is that one out of the window now.

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