I wrote about Google addressing privacy concerns back in October but today the company made a big move in an attempt to show the public that they care about user privacy. Google is launching a campaign over several channels including print, outdoor and digital ads. They have even created an interesting microsite elaborating on their efforts.
This campaign is entitled “Good to Know” and it consists of four main subjects entitled: “Stay safe online”, “Your data on the web”, “Your data on Google” and “Manage your data”. In this way, Google is not only providing valuable information for people who use the internet in general but also for people who use their services in particular.
The aspect of Google’s newest effort which is getting the most attention, however, is their print ads. Many people are absolutely shocked that Google, arguably the most omnipotent name in the web (and SEO) sphere, is spending their time and money putting out print ads. However, if you really examine the outlets that Google chose for its print ads it isn’t that shocking. The publications where the ads are set to run are the most telling as to who the target of this advertising is. The first publications to run the ads were USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Time and The New Yorker. These are some of the best known and most popular news outlets in the US. Not only that, they also tend to have a wealthy and educated reader base, in other words, the readers of these publications tend to have the most to lose when it comes to online threats. If Google were to run their print ads in technology magazines, for example, they would likely not prove as effective because the readership of those publications most likely knows how to protect themselves on the web (even if they don’t do it).
While most of the information in this campaign can come off like a PSA about how to keep yourself safe online it is still advertising. Google may present this information as though it is purely for the greater good they are trying to sell you something. It is not surprising that this move comes shortly after Twitter’s comments regarding social search. Some companies would have responded to the criticism by apologizing for their efforts or backing off but Google released an ad campaign beautifully justifying some of the actions that made Twitter so mad (like integrating social aspects into search results).