Microsoft might live to regret their decision to mess with Google. Redmond's recent decision to put free versions of several Office applications online was a direct attack on Google apps. For weeks we've waited to see how the search giant would respond to this escalation, and now we finally have our answer. Google has just launched a new advertising campaign called Going Google, designed to convince business and individuals of the benefits of using Google apps over MS Office.
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Going Google will involve more than just some online advertisements and commercials. TechCrunch reports that the new campaign will include a series of billboard ads, as well as a letter-writing campaign. Google's billboards will feature a different note about Google apps every day for an entire month. These billboards will be located on the 101 in San Francisco, the West Side highway in New York, the Ike in Chicago, and Mass Pike in Boston.
The letter-writing campaign will be much more low-key. Basically, Google is providing a series of pre-generated letters that employees can anonymously send their employers to urge the company to switch to Google apps. Users who decide to 'Go Google' during this ad blitz are invited to fill out a Google Doc talking about how they've felt about the switch. A few lucky late-adopters will win prizes for these essays.
Twitter will also play a big part in Google's assault on Office 2010. They've established the #gonegoogle hashtag for their users to auto-populate with their feelings about Google apps. The search giant also created the GoogleAtWork Twitter account to help spread the news.
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This new advance is sure to provoke a response from Microsoft, but I'm not sure what they could do to top this. Google knows how to fight this kind of battle, they understand Internet culture and the nature of viral advertising much better than Redmond does. If Google can actually manage to yank some market share away from Microsoft, their decision to attack Google apps with Office 2010 will go down in tech history as one of the worst business moves in recent memory.