Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

First, Facebook Stories and Now…Google Stories!

A few weeks ago, as part of its marketing campaign around garnering its 500 millionth registered user, Facebook launched “Facebook Stories,” a slick site dedicated to tales of love, loss, serendipity and more that had taken place on the social networking site.

Earlier today, on its official blog, Google announced it was launching “Your Google stories: the right answer in the nick of time.”

According to the Silicon Valley search giant’s blog, “This is the first in a series of stories from people who have shared how Google has helped them in their lives. Check back the rest of this week for more.”

Is this supposed Google-Facebook rivalry getting a little ridonkulous or what?

But BoomTown will bite on this obvious bit of marketing plagiarism, due only to the gripping tale of a couple who heard a strange noise coming out of their fireplace, Googled “chimney fire” and found out they had better skedaddle out of the house and quick.

“Nervous, I quickly Googled ‘chimney fires’ and within a second the first link caught my attention,” reads the tale. “At this site I learned that the rumbling sound is what many people hear when their chimney have caught fire! I then called 911 and they advised us to get out of the house right away!

“Within 5 minutes our chimney was fully engulfed with flames! I have been praising Google all day today!”

Praise be Larry and Sergey!

Here’s my heart-pounding search story, which Google is free to use: My kids got lice at school last year! Suddenly itchy and considering burning down my house via a chimney fire, I Googled “Good God, save me from icky lice or I am torching the place” and found someone I had to overpay to come to my house and deal with it.

And then there was that time Google Maps led me on a wild goose chase across rural California with a dwindling gas supply! Oh, was that a fun night! Not at all.

In all seriousness, this is the second time recently that Google has done a wholesale borrow of a high concept from a rival. It recently tested putting striking photographic images on its front page, which you can still opt to do here, a clear grab from what the Microsoft (MSFT) Bing service debuted last year.

IMHO, Google (GOOG) should stick to its own original marketing ideas, including the most excellent fictional video “Search Stories” series, like the terrific “Parisian Love,” which is below:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work