Steer your way to Google.com and you’ll find yourself staring at perhaps its boldest Doodle yet. No, Google hasn’t outdone itself with another musical tribute or interactive game — it’s running an ad directing users to try out Google+. But this isn’t just your average text ad or banner: Google’s drawing a big, blue arrow that points toward your Google+ name on the left side of its top nav bar. Click it, and you’ll launch into the Google+ homepage and signup process.
You can’t miss it.
The ad coincides with today’s public launch to Google+, which now allows anyone to sign up for the service (up until now you’ve needed an invite). And it’s sure to drive a major surge in new signups.
Granted, this isn’t the first time Google has run ads on its homepage to promote its own products: for example, it’s previously run ads for its Nexus phones, and it recently ran text ads promoting Google Offers to users in some areas. But as far as I can remember, all of these ads have been subtle — some text and maybe a small graphic centered beneath the search bar.
But this blue arrow is much harder to miss (note that the arrow actually moves a bit, as it’s ‘drawn’ when you first land on the page). If nothing else, it’s another reminder of just how serious Google is about helping Google+ succeed, and it shows that it’s willing to leverage its biggest assets to achieve that mission.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...