Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Google's uses Doodle as promotional tool for first time, for Dickens 200th birthday

Google's released a new Google Doodle, one for the 200th anniversary of the birth of legendary author Charles Dickens. That's not the big news, though. Normally, clicking on a Doodle takes you to search results for that term. This time, clicking on it takes you to a set of search results promoting Google Books.

Atop the results will be the Wikipedia entry for Charles Dickens. Following that will be page after page of Google Books results related to Dickens. All of them appear to be free, but this is still the first time Google has turned its Doodle into a marketing tool.

On its Inside Google Books blog, Google offered a behind-the-scenes look at the Doodle. Here's how they picked out the books:

"... our Google Books editorial team curated a collection of free and featured Dickens classics available in the Google eBookstore in Dickens' native land (United Kingdom) and some Commonwealth countries (Canada, Australia) as well as the US -- a relatively new nation that Dickens himself visited in 1842 and 1867."

It's not as though Google hasn't used its homepage for promotions before. However, it hasn't used its Doodle in such a manner.

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So, from now on, a user won't know if a Google Doodle leads to an innocuous search result page, or some promotional search result page. These are innocent, being just about free books, but in the future, who knows? And you can bet that since Google will know the conversion percentage, too, this could be good data that Google could provide to advertisers, as well.

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