Commentary

How To Turn Google.com's Homepage Into A Marketing Tool

Google homepage

Google could capitalize on a marketing opportunity Bing decided not to take when it launched images and interactive messages on the homepage of it search engine. With Bing, we saw Microsoft roll out colorful images for the search homepage. Last week Google followed, but on Thursday the Mountain View, Calif., company asked us to choose our own.

Here's a deal I'm willing to make: I'll upload a widget of my favorite clothing designer, retail store or product or service manufacturer to use as an image on my google.com homepage if you're willing to give me information and coupons on weekly specials and events in my area. You know the geographic area where I live based on geo-tagging, cookies in my browser, and tags in the pages of Web sites I visit. I'm pretty sure technology would allow you to change the specials and the pricing on items daily, if not weekly. How about it? I approached execs at Microsoft Bing with this idea last year, but nothing happened. They want to keep the homepage pure. But as the holidays approach, the idea beckons for someone to capitalize on it.

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Visit google.com today and you will find a colorful image and an inviting message to choose a background from the existing stock photos or upload your own. Clicking on the "change background image" in the bottom left corner takes you a variety of stock photos.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I turned on my computer to find a colorful image replacing my stark white google.com page. I like color, but typically color as an accent. So I closed the page and opened it again, typing google.com in the URL, hoping the old page would disappear. It did. Slowly an image appeared of a lake that meets the base of red majestic mountains, some hidden by clouds. Initially, the relaxing woman on the dock that jets into the lake sent a calming message to my brain.

But I quickly blinked and that message turned to "REI, where are you? This is a great opportunity to tell me how much your travel adventures cost, what opportunities do you offer, and what kind of gear will I need to make the trip successful."

 REI, Sports Authority, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Sport Chalet give me some price comparisons, aggregate some searches for product preference and give me a link to a homepage or dedicated Web site from my new google.com widget. Sony, Microsoft, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Nanette Lepore, and Kay Unger the holidays are approaching quickly. I'll expect a widget in my email in box soon from the agencies you work with for online campaigns.

3 comments about "How To Turn Google.com's Homepage Into A Marketing Tool ".
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  1. Daniel Redman from Evisibility, June 10, 2010 at 3:47 p.m.

    That seems counter-intuitive to Google's entire way of evil life. Their service offering to the vast population is relevant results for the things you are looking for. Any early diversion from that, though it may be a revenue channel, seems a bit undermining.

  2. Ryan Burt from Lars Marketing, LLC, June 10, 2010 at 3:57 p.m.

    I agree with the previous post. Why would Google do this? What you describe would be extremely un-targeted advertising for the advertiser. As a consumer, if I want local shopping deals then I search on that in Google and then they provide me results that are relevant and targeted, that's the whole point.

    A form of what you describe is already available on iGoogle using Google gadgets.

  3. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, June 10, 2010 at 4:05 p.m.

    How could it be untargted if I download a widget specifically for a brand I like and it takes up the entire Google.com homepage? I don't always have time to search on Google for shopping deals. I'm typically looking for other information. Bring me the shopping deals of brands I like on one screen. I'm sure to take a look. This is not to benefit Google. This is to benefit brands, which eventually benefits Google.

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