Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google's Great TV Ad

Google is trying out TV ads again, this time to promote its Chrome browser. There’s one featuring Dan Savage and the “It Gets Better” campaign he started, and this one, which Google could also run in red states.

I like it quite a bit, but then again I’m very much in the demo here:

It’s not clear at all to me how these ads promote Chrome as opposed to Google services in general. Or the Internet in general, for that matter.

The bigger issue, of course, is whether it’s ever going to make sense for Google to promote a Web browser on any medium but the Web.

I had the same question when Google ran an ad promoting search during last year’s Super Bowl. But whatever–Google seems committed to the idea, and TV makes more sense than print ads.

Important note for parents with young kids: I love the idea of setting up an email account for your children and sending them the occasional note or memento they can see when they’re older (I first heard about it from John Paczkowski about a year ago).

There is a catch, though. Google, at least, won’t let you set up an email account if you use the actual birthday of a young child when registering. It’s apparently a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

So in order for users to replicate the example in Google’s ad, they’ll have to give Google a fake, older birthdate for their children–I think you’ll need to make them appear to be 13 or older.

I assume that doing  that violates some rule, somewhere, so I don’t want to officially endorse that, and I’m sure that Google doesn’t either.

But it really is a cool idea.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik