On January 27 Google is holding an enormous bash in London to promote its Chrome browser.
The fact that the German and French authorities appear to have turned their nose up at Internet Explorer because of an attack against Google that used the Microsoft browser appears to be just a coincidence, if such things exist.
But here’s a thing. As you know I live not far from London, England and on occasion have to take mass transit – or the Tube as they call it in London. Everywhere, on practically every tube station I’ve had occasion to land on, be it Tottenham Court Road, Ruislip, Notting Hill Gate there are large posters made of paper all advertising Google Chrome.
It’s a bit more high tech at Tottenham Court Road, in what’s laughingly called the West End. As you stand on the very very long escalator, there’s a series of 21st century advertising spaces that use LCD screens and rotate from time to time – sometimes it’s Google Chrome – sometimes it’s something more banal. Or exciting, depending on your point of view.
Everything’s gone online – but Google’s gone offline, for the time being anyway. Not that things will stay that way forever – if you can flash an ad for Google Chrome on an LCD screen on an escalator in the London Underground, it can’t be long before those displays are linked to the Internet.
London Underground had the idea, thankfully abandoned, of putting animated adverts on the walls in the tunnels between stations, so you’d be kind of watching the ads you try to avoid on TV while you were bleary, hungover and on your way to a dreadful job. They also wanted to enable cellphone connexions but abandoned that too, because people just don’t like it at 7AM in the morning.
But it can’t be long, either, until paper adverts in posters completely disappear. While we’re still at the early days in e-readers, that technology is coming along in leaps and bounds.
So at some time in the future, those adverts you see on the side of railway stations will be wholly interactive and wholly online. I’ll probably be dead by then.
So Google, we’re only joking. We know that you’ll always be an online company, that you’re not “evil” and that basically your entire business model is based on advertising. It’s just that when the time comes can you please not do 3D ads, because we don’t want to wear x-ray spex on the London Tube. Ever.