Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Google Search Stories–Including Batman!–Or Are They Anti-Bing Commercials in Disguise?

search stories2

It’s well known that Google doesn’t do much in the way of marketing around its search service.

While you will catch advertising for the Chrome browser or for Android smartphones on the Web, given Google’s huge 70 percent market share in search, it hardly needs to attract users.

So, then, what is one to make of a series of new videos, which look suspiciously like commercials, that Google (GOOG) launched late last week on its blog and posted on a new channel on YouTube?

Called “Search Stories,” there are a half-dozen of the short videos, some more adorkable than others, which star the main search box.

One thing they have in common is that they have the look and feel of a marketing campaign, with the tag line “Search on.”

They also stress a variety of Google products, such as mapping, video, price comparisons, email and more.

One imagines what pre-Batman Bruce Wayne would look for, complete with ominous music, including search terms such as “coping with loss,” “flexible kevlar” and “gotham city crime statistics.”

Another video, called “Newbie,” has a grandmother searching on “keeping in touch with grandkids” and–in a clever dig at the MySpace and Facebook social networking services–“what is myfacebook,” which gets corrected by Google to “what is facebook.”

Could it be that the $100 million marketing push Microsoft (MSFT) launched for its Bing search service, which seems to be slowly gaining share, is starting to get on the nerves of those Spocks in Silicon Valley?

Not that Google would admit this, instead simply saying it was feeling all warm and fuzzy and so decided to make some kids-let’s-put-on-a-show videos.

Wrote Robert Wong of Google Creative Lab in a blog post, in part:

Because while we’re proud of the innovations we’re making in search, we’re proudest of the things people use search to accomplish. In other words, the best search results don’t show up on a webpage–they show up in somebody’s life.

So in that spirit, we made a bunch of videos. There’s one about grandma dipping her toe into technology. One about friends taking a Kerouac inspired road trip. And yes, there’s even one about Bruce Wayne.

Judge for yourself–here they all are:

Parisian Love

Mad to Live

Batman

Newbie

Potholes

High School

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google