Google has launched a series of 30-second spots on Web video sites to plug its core search functions. The spots attempt to portray Google as the complete A-to-Z planning tool for a range of activities, and tell a story as they roll.
The spots are weaved in streams on Hulu.com, AOL Video and Google's own YouTube. They are also housed on a dedicated youtube.com/ searchstories hub.
In one, a man begins searching how to study abroad in Paris -- then how to woo a French girl. Ultimately, he wants to find a church for matrimony.
In another, a person has suffered car damage by hitting a pothole. A search for how to mount a petition drive complaining to the government follows, then one on how to run for office to combat the problem ... but not before finding some help mastering public speaking.
No person is actually shown in the ads. The creative is mostly just typing into Google's iconic search bar with germane music playing. An exception is a montage of how Google Maps can assist in planning a Kerouac-oriented road trip.
"Every Search is a quest, Every quest is a story" is a tagline.
On its blog, Google wrote that "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 Web page -- they show up in somebody's life."
While people may encounter the spots on the video sites, they may also run across a banner ad on NYT.com and Digg.com directing them to the YouTube locale. Those ads carry a "Search Stories, Now Playing" appeal.
Google declined to comment on spending details. A spokesman said the campaign is unrelated to any new challenge in search from Microsoft's Bing, which is in the midst of a heavily funded introduction campaign.