GOOG-411 Advertised By Billboard

    September 19, 2007

Google is one of the last companies you might expect to buy a billboard, and Olean, New York, is one of the last places you might expect a tech company to advertise.  Nonetheless, Google’s put an ad up in Oleans, and it’s for an out-of-the-way product: GOOG-411.

No one’s really sure how or why this happened – perhaps Google’s accountants simply decided that there was too much cash floating around.  Or maybe it’s a graduation present of sorts – GOOG-411 was brought out of Google Labs earlier this week.

In an article for Search Engine Land, Greg Sterling presented a more likely idea, however.  “[P]eople will see this when they’re driving in their cars, which is one of the expected use cases,” he wrote.  As for the billboard’s middle-of-(scenic)-nowhere location, Sterling speculated, “[P]erhaps that’s also quite intentional, to test a campaign and see if it drives traffic, so to speak.”

In any case, credit goes to Mike Blumenthal for first spotting the GOOG-411 billboard and documenting its existence.  Assuming this test – if it is a test – goes well, keep an eye out for Google billboards where you live, as well.