Watch Out IE: Google Gets Serious with Chrome TV Spots

Google has gone surprisingly mainstream with emotional TV ads for Chrome, proving it will invest big to compete with IE.

Google is not known for its television ads, or any kind of offline advertising for that matter. But that philosophy may be changing with two new TV ads for the Chrome browser.

In its "biggest offline campaign ever," according to a recent New York Times story, Google is throwing big bucks (the company will not disclose how much) at its increasingly popular browser in an effort to tie in more users to Google's services and to take down Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

This is noteworthy because Google has always eschewed any kind of advertising, especially the expensive and high-profile TV medium. Chrome, apparently, is an exception. Chrome browser usage has grown by 5 percent in the past year to almost 12 percent, according to Web market researcher Net Applications, while Internet Explorer has dropped from 60 percent to 55 percent in the same time period.

With the Chrome TV spots, Google has gone mainstream for the first time to promote a product. That says a lot about how much browsers mean to Larry, Sergey and company.

The modern browser is more than just a window to the Web. It is a gateway to the browser-maker's other software and services. In Google's case, Chrome is an entry point into Google search via its combination address bar/search field (called the omnibox). The Google search results page is the default, which leads the user to Google's other services like Maps, YouTube, Picasa, etc. When you are using Chrome you are effectively living in the Google ecosystem. Microsoft takes the same approach with IE9's address bar/search field and makes Bing the default.

Users of either browser can change the default search engine to whatever they want. But Google and Microsoft are hoping they won't bother.

In many ways, the Google-Microsoft browser battle is the inverse of the companies' search battle, where Google is the clear leader and Microsoft is the underdog on the hunt. And just as Microsoft is relentlessly promoting Bing — most recently with a search partnership with RIM that makes Bing the preferred search engine on BlackBerry devices — so too is Google going for broke with its Chrome marketing.

There are two 90-second Chrome TV spots and both aim right for the heartstrings, emphasizing the Web's ability to inform, enlighten and connect people. And if you use Google services to do it, starting with Chrome, all the better!

Check them out below. No crying....

Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for CIO.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Shane at soneill@cio.com

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