Wi-Fi as an Ad Unit: Google Pushes Chrome for the Holidays
For the second year Google is sponsoring in-flight Wi-Fi from mid-November to mid-January as a sort of benevolent gift for holiday travelers. Last year Google’s free Wi-Fi was offered on Virgin America flights and in a bunch of airports. This year, Google’s not just getting passengers to feel warm and fuzzy about its brand at 30,000 feet, it’s using the opportunity to promote a single product: The Chrome browser.
The crafty little advertising move comes at a time when Chrome needs a boost to take on the Web browser competition. Currently Chrome has 8.5 percent of global users, according to NetMarketShare, compared to 59 percent for Internet Explorer, 23 percent for Mozilla Firefox and 5.4 percent for Apple’s Safari. Yesterday, the new social browser RockMelt launched, and while the only people using it so far are avid followers of tech blogs, the company will obviously need to figure out a way to use some of its $10 million in funding and its investors’ experience building browsers to gain market share. (Interestingly, NetMarketShare says mobile browsing is only 2.8 percent of the market. Room to grow.)
Google’s in-flight Wi-Fi will be on domestic AirTran, Delta and Virgin America flights (which use Aircell’s Gogo service) from Nov. 20 to Jan. 2 (which is sadly 23 days shorter than last year’s promotion).
Image courtesy NASA.