If you thought Google
Sure, the move is meant to pump steroids into Google's online products such as Maps, Local, and Checkout. Zagat nestles very nicely next to local coupons provider The Dealmap, which Google acquired last month, and more recent addition Zave Networks. Shares of restaurant-reservations dealer OpenTable
But there's more to this deal than a simple plug-in boost to existing tools. When Zagat ratings come "presented by Google" in newspapers, local ad and coupon collections, and review clippings posted on restaurant walls, the Google brand is exposed to whole new demographics.
Shine that offline light on other Google moves, and perhaps they start to make sense.
- The Motorola Mobility
deal is superficially all about patents, but also includes cell phones and cable boxes. Google also bought home-theater software specialist SageTV earlier this summer, in case you thought the set-top box part of Motorola was irrelevant. (NYSE: MMI)
Electric vehicles and autopiloted cars can't be just pointless experiments or applied theory exercises. Google is also working closely with Ford
to help the carmaker analyze driving habits. Don't be surprised if your next car sports colorful Google logos here and there. (NYSE: F)
- Then there's that high-speed Internet connection project in Kansas City and, uh, Kansas City. While this is obviously net-related, it hits much closer to home for the affected customers. The familiar Internet service bills from Time Warner Cable
or AT&T (NYSE: TWC) will start coming from Google instead, and the monthly checks go to Mountain View. And as long as the high-speed service isn't a total rip-off, that connection should be a good thing. (NYSE: T)
In short, Google is on a massive yet sneaky brand awareness campaign. Equating Google with Zagat surveys is one tricky little way to raise the company's profile without spending advertising dollars.
Google is not content with dominating the Internet. The company wants every Luddite to know its name, too.
Brand awareness can be a very powerful business tool. Dolby Labs