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Now starring on YouTube: Google

Sara Goo

Google has developed dozens of products that it famously does not promote. So it was a little surprising to see that Google came out with its first commercial, or rather, series of commercials, on YouTube earlier this week promoting Google's free email accounts called GMail. GMail has been around for a while, but this week Google said it would allow anyone to sign up; the service used to require an invitation from another Gmail user.

Check out the first video, and you'll see how Google had taken a distinctly low-tech approach. I have to say, it is very charming and creative. There's also Video No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. It's amazing what you can do when you raid the office supply cabinet!

By Sara Goo  |  February 16, 2007; 1:45 PM ET  | Category:  Sara Goo
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Thanks for your fascinating piece on how Google has adapted their marketing approach with such creativity and effectiveness. To me, a middle-aged white guy, the Google strategy is both exciting and a bit scary. The scary part is the questions that "googlization" of our world raises regarding privacy and ownership.

What's the difference between "Don't BE evil" and "Don't DO evil?" Would it be possible for Google's privacy and ownership policy for Gmail subscribers to harm their users even if Google's strategy were free of any "evil" intent? Would any responsibility of such harm (say, having my love of a married woman mentioned in a private email used for blackmail) be shared by Google? (For the record, the married woman I love is my wife.)

Still, what about these questions of who owns my writing and whether there's any value in privacy? Are these questions being swept away by our excitement about new ways of connecting with each other and finding information? Is there any difference in the answers to these questions between old guys like me, and people of other genders and generations?

Anything come up for anyone reading this, or do these questions just seem paranoid?

Posted by: Lee | February 17, 2007 1:51 PM

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