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November 1, 2008

How Google Promotes Chrome

Is Chrome the most heavily promoted Google product? Like for many other products, Google "buys" AdWords ads to promote Chrome, but there are many other places where you can find Chrome ads.

When it was launched, Google placed a link on the homepage which stayed there for a week. At the same time, Chrome gained a prominent placement on Google Japan's homepage, next to services like YouTube or Gmail:

Andreas spotted an ad for Google Chrome in Taipei (Creative Commons-licensed image):

Starting from today, YouTube promotes Chrome on the homepage and the bottom of every page:

The promotion is similar to the last month's ad from orkut (screenshot licensed as Creative Commons):

If you download Chrome from one of these sites, Google will append a RLZ parameter to each Google search URL. "RLZ contains some encoded information, such as where you downloaded Google Chrome and where you got it from. This parameter does not uniquely identify you, nor is it used to target advertising. This information is used to understand the effectiveness of different distribution mechanisms, such as downloads directly from Google vs. other distribution channels," explains Chromium Blog.

It's unclear whether Google "will do well to expand its business", but Chrome seems to be a part of a strategic initiative to make Google more visible on the desktop, a mix between Google Toolbar, Google Desktop and Gears that turned into a browser and that needs a critical mass to be taken seriously.

{ Thanks, Sterling. }


  1. Hasn't Chrome only been out since around the beginning of September 2008? Has Japan been using it for over a year now?

  2. Thanks, Mitch. I obviously intended to use "month" instead of "year".

  3. Wasn't there an ad on for a while? I'm not sure how long it was displayed, but it was there.

    And I think the browser is doing more than just making Google more visible on the desktop. The browser is the platform for almost everything Google does. It makes sense to have some "control" over that aspect, and an open source browser is probably a good way to do that - even if it doesn't have a lot of market share (yet).

  4. It's not that Google "buys" ads for Chrome only for English users, but I believe that it is doing for all languages on which Chrome is translated.

    For example, in my language (Serbian) I saw all of this ads translated on various AdSense units. I think one of keywords they are targeting is actually "google" and to confirm it (and to take a screenshot) I went to Google News-like Serbian site and searched for Google and as you can see both ads on AdSense box are from Google, first for Chrome (bottom left message from your picture) and second for AdWords (this campaign for AdWords just started this week or at least this is when I saw it). Also when there was ad on Google's homepage, it was localized too.

    For me it was amazing that when Chrome was released, it was available on so many languages (because it was super-secret and if many people have informations there is bigger chance of leaking).

    This also tells many about Google approach: they are going to as many users as possible, localizing products to even small languages. For example, (as you already saw), they localized AdWords and AdSense (and allowed Serbian language sites access to it) in Serbian, not to mention other products (Gmail, Docs, Picasa etc), even though Serbian language is not widely spoken and those markets where it is spoken are financially weak. And that is rewarded by users: Google is czar in search engine space here and almost all media and other similar sites use AdSense for monetizing.

    This approach is completely different from one of Yahoo! which even didn't localize interface of some popular services, not to mention localizing search and making money from content network (only US residents with English or Spanish sites can join Yahoo! Publishers Network; not even people from big English speaking countries like UK, Canada and Australia can join, not to even mention small languages and countries like mine)

    It seems that they didn't see Google's third quarter results where it is wrote that 51% of income comes outside of US.

    That's why they are loosing game.

  5. I'm still not sure why they should be advertising it just now.
    It IS still an early beta, and while it does work, work well in fact, there are still some major issues with it.

  6. If Google doesn't open Chrome up for the developers soon then Chrome will be another also-ran browser.

  7. The problem with YouTube is the AD asks you to use Chrome even when you're using Chrome, unlike orkut.

  8. WOW, big G, big promo big product:D How can I do like him?

  9. I'd expect Picasa to ship with Chrome before long. Not just as a cross-marketing thing, but because picasa currently depends on IE to do its blogger GUI, both on windows and seemingly even linux (under wine). An embedded chrome engine would benefit them and help push it out.

  10. Speaking of Picasa, i really need to start using that again.
    Just remembered the "upgrade your space" page where you can buy more space, and noticed i have a gig sitting there, doing pretty much nothing...

    Still saddened that Hello was killed off... i loved that program.
    They could have at least open sourced it. Or added an IP connect to it as one last final update.

  11. Google "buy" Adwords.... heheheh

  12. Google is a lot more promotional with its services than people give them credit for.

    I've archived a bunch of online ads for services ranging from analytics and Picassa to iGoogle and AdWords. The irony of Google -- master of stark text ads -- using animated banner ads is not lost on me.

    Here's a few:

    Google AdWords 300x250

    Google Checkout 160x600

    Google Apps 300x250

    Google Gmail 300x250

    Enjoy ... 8,000 more online ads like this archived @

  13. Thanks for sharing. i think chrome needs alittle advertisement to get famous.

  14. As for other languages, here's a screenshot of Google Chrome ad in Slovak language, displayed in my Gmail.

  15. No doubt Google Chrome is very fast, though at times it becomes unresponsive while handling PDF and Gmail. I like its bookmarks horizontal bar. But the absence of autofill feature is something I miss dearly.

  16. All my firefox users will be blissfully unaware of RLZ evil lurking in ads

    Thanks AdBlock Plus!

  17. I have switched from Firefox to Chrome. It is faster and crashes way less often than Firefox. And I like some of the design features.

  18. Hmm; Chrome is to Firefox as Firefox is to IE (well almost)! It's faster, smaller, more lightweight, but does lack a few needed features.

    I am using Chrome right now, but the browser desperately needs to have equivalent functionality to the google bar, not to mention a few plugins like DownThemAll.

  19. Very interesting, need to look further into the benefits of using Chrome. I was about to switch to Firefox.

  20. Love FireFox, I should of switched to it ages ago.

  21. Having read these comments I am sold on up grading to Chrome.

  22. I've got Chrome installed although I'm not currently using it because Firefox offers the SEO tools as add on's. Does Chrome do that too?

  23. I love much of what google does but have no wish to have my operating system or any important files anywhere other than on my own hard drive!

  24. I'll stay with firefox or IE.

    Google has way to much effect on my life as it is.

  25. Finally Chrome has a reasonable selection of plug-ins which make it a viable alternative to Firefox.


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