Flipping through my Los Angeles Times newspaper today, I came across an unusual ad — one placed by Google, to push its Chrome browser:
The Chrome Ad
Google’s “20 Things” Book
In particular, the ad covers one of the 20 “things” that are part of the “20 Things I Learned About Browsers And The Web” ebook that Google released earlier this week:
The ebook, which you can find here, is especially designed for the non-tech savvy consumer, to explain to them how browsers work and why “modern” browsers are important:
Google: Upgrade Your Browser!
The book itself doesn’t overtly push Chrome. In fact, in the page above, it lists Chrome along with competing browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer.
The “What Browser” site that the ebook points people at, while run by Google, lists competitors, as well:
Of course, the site uses a .org extension — whatbrowser.org — rather than the whatbrowser.com domain that Google also owns. That seems designed to give the impression that the site isn’t backed by a commercial company.
Still, there’s no doubting that the point isn’t just to push Chrome but rather promote that people should use the most current browsers out there, no matter who makes them.
Why? Google believes that applications (including its own) will live in our browsers, rather we install on our computers. That means getting people to use the most capable browsers out there.
The Consumer Push
While it’s unusual for Google to advertise any of its consumer products, much less advertise them via newspaper ads, though it’s not unprecedented.
Our Google Airs TV Ad During Super Bowl – But Why? story covers Google pushing web search during the Super Bowl earlier this year plus itemizes other types of consumer advertising the company has done in various media.
Still, it’s a notable move and a sign of how seriously Google treats the entire browser situation. I’ll update if I hear more back from Google on the size of its consumer ad campaign. I’m sure it extends beyond the LA Times.
Postscript – Google tells me:
We’re running these ads in several newspapers in major cities in the United States to raise awareness about the guidebook and point readers to it, especially if they find it useful and educational. We hope some readers will pick up a new factoid or piece of insight even from the ad itself about how browsers and the web work. They’ll be running this month.