Yahoo And Google Go To College

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The search engine competitors’ efforts to target a university age audience show some dramatic differences in styles.

Information versus entertainment: that’s the public face on how Google and Yahoo might look to the college crowd this fall.

For Google, its “College Life, powered by Google” page offers a straightforward list of some its services. Google presents itself as an ultimate information manager:

You spend your life dealing with information. A lot of it is academic, a lot more is personal, it all matters, and you can probably use better tools for handling it effectively. On this page, we’d like to introduce you to a few of them.

Google introduces Gmail, Talk, SMS, Maps, Toolbar, Scholar, and Picasa, each with an associated image of college-age people doing college-age activities. Below those links, Google places from left to right an invitation to join or sign in to Gmail, an Ajax-powered list of 25 Google Tips, and a chance to sign up for the Google Friends newsletter.

(Someone may wish to mention to the creator of tip number 8 that Stanford might be a better choice for an example than MIT. Just a thought.)

Yahoo engages its growing entertainment presence to help appeal to the desirable, tough-to-reach college demographic. Visitors to Yahoo have probably seen the banner ads for IMU, an online series that follows three long distance relationships.

The three couples use the various Yahoo communication tools, like Messenger, Mail, and Photos, to keep in touch and to win various “challenges” presented each week. TV crews from mtvU have been filming them and providing video to the IMU web site. The winning couple, as voted by Yahoo users, gets a 14-day trip to Europe.

(Note – the cloying sweetness of some of the content on the IMU site may cause the emotionally jaded to laugh out loud so hard that one’s health could be jeopardized. Click at your own risk; WebProNews bears no responsibility for the content of external sites.)

Two approaches, one focused on providing information, the other enticing with entertainment. Both search engines have the same focus – develop relationships with users now and keep them through college and beyond.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Yahoo And Google Go To College
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