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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google recently made another attempt at breaking Facebook’s monopoly in social networking sphere by launching Google+. Its a good product, concept of circles of friends is interesting and mimics real life situation. However Google has made a mess of it by compulsorily linking Picasa albums to Google+. Picasa is a wonderful photo-sharing product and should remain so, it’s incorrect to abruptly turning it into a feature of a social network.

Many people, including me, used Picasa to share photos which they do not want to share on Facebook. Picasa has been my private photo sharing tool, and I want it to remain so. Google+ still shares the photos and comments only with people it has been explicitly shared with by email, but a tag of person outside this sharing list of emails can make photo go out of those circle and can make it public. It’s a definite breach of privacy. Google does notifies about this possibility but it would be really stupid for them to expect people would understand complete implication of this just by reading the note. I am sure soon there will be an uproar about this, just like what happened with Google Buzz when it by default made contact list public as your connections on Buzz.

Photo-sharing is a very important feature of a social network, and contributes a lot to its growth. Facebook now has more photos being shared than proper photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa. Considering this, it is understandable that Google wants to leverage it’s existing photo-sharing facility for Google+. However by doing that, they are demoting Picasa into being just a feature of Google+ than being a proper photo-sharing site. They should give an option to delink Picasa from Google+ for those who want to continue using Picasa as it has been till now. And if it wants to, I am sure it will definitely come up with hundreds of more engaging and interesting features and ways to get more and more photos shared on Google+ specifically for purpose of photo-sharing on a social network. Hope someone at Google is listening to this!

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I am at my hometown Nagpur and today morning when I picked up ‘Nagpur Times’ (city supplement of Nagpur edition of The Times of India), I saw a quarter-page advertisement from Google. It had a message “Take off to exciting destinations. Keep your airfare on ground.” and asked readers to search on internet to find cheap airfares and hotels. It has a screen shot of Google search box with query “Cheap tickets Goa”.

I was amazed on seeing direct print advertising from Google, and wanted to put it on Twitter, so I checked online edition of TOI, but sadly TOI does not have Nagpur edition online :(. I checked city supplements from other cities to see if this is a nationwide campaign from Google, but could find only this ad in Ahmedabad city supplement (of the cities whose editions are available online). However the tag line there was different. In Ahmedabad city edition, the ad carried message “How to remove the excess weight from your airfare”. And the search query in this ad was “Cheap tickets Kerala”.

My observations on these are:

  • Advertisement is about searching on internet, and not on Google. Looks like Google believes that if anyone from these tier II cities (in terms of internet penetration) search on internet, it will be on Google only
  • While the message in Nagpur is about cheaper airfares, that in Ahmedabad is about reducing the baggage weight. Also the destination in the search query change per city. Google has some smart brains designing these campaigns 🙂
  • What makes Google go into print advertisement in India, that too in such a targeted fashion that it has different communication message in different cities? Google has often said that for it to grow in emerging markets like India, it will have to grow the market; and may be it believes cities like Nagpur and Ahmedabad offer the right promise for them
  • And lastly, while Google believes that it makes sense to advertise about their services in a city like Nagpur, our own desi Time of India thinks otherwise, and does not care to have Nagpur edition online (wonder what extra cost they will incur to have all their editions online!)

Google has never advertised itself, especially on any of the mass media channels. The TVC for Chrome browser in Japan created quite a buzz about Google selling itself on mass medium. It would be interesting to see if this shift towards advertising on mass media is a temporary one or if Google has some totally different plans for Indian market.

Google Print Ad in Ahmedabad

Google Print Ad in Ahmedabad

Google Print Ad in Nagpur

Google Print Ad in Nagpur

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