But we’re not Japanese when it comes to Google

Apropos my earlier post about Japan, I was struck during my time in Japan by something I had not seen in the US – print and billboard advertising from Google. Here’s a picture of a very large billboard ad plunked down in the middle of Shinagawa station, one of the biggest public transport hubs in Tokyo.
Google in Shinagawa Station
As it happens today’s New York Times has an interesting article about Google’s trailing position in the Japanese market. They need to take out those ads and billboards. As the article titled In Japan, an Odd Perch for Google: Looking Up at the Leader says in part

“…Japan is one of a few major countries Google has yet to conquer. The Web giant still trails far behind Yahoo Japan, the front-runner here, operated by the Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank.

In a reversal of the rivalry in the United States, Yahoo Japan dominates Japan’s Web search market with 56.5 percent of all queries, according to the Internet research company, GA-Pro. Google, at 33.7 percent, is a distant second.

Unaccustomed to being second, Google is bending some of its most time-honored traditions in a renewed push into the Japanese market. Earlier this year, Google’s splash page for Japan abandoned the company’s classic spare design and added links to YouTube, Gmail and other services — an attempt to lure Japanese users who favor sites decorated with a cacophony of text and graphics.”

Of course, there are lots of ways in which we don’t share important Japanese sensibilities. I can’t imagine a US university declaring their Engineering building ‘The House of Creation and Imagination’ as this directory sign does ;).
Engineering building directory Hyoshi campus Keio U.
But Google might.

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About Jim Michalko

Jim coordinates the OCLC Research office in San Mateo, CA, focuses on relationships with research libraries and work that renovates the library value proposition in the current information environment.

One Comment

  1. Actually, earlier in the year, there was billboard advertisement campaign for Google business apps (http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html), trying to entice Silicon Valley Commuters (and the companies they represent) to move into the Google cloud. This article http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/business/The-Tech-Industrys-Madison-Avenue-52443607.html has a photo of the very billboard I stared at after getting on 101 at Cesar Chavez in San Francisco to come to our San Mateo offices. If memory serves right, they ended it when they reached “Day 20″.

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