Google’s Brand Sense

7 Feb

With the Google’s search getting sophisticated and intelligent users are depending more on its recommendations. Some of these recommendations are influencing the brands as well. Computer programs (e.g. search engines) influence a consumer when she searches solutions for a need, looks for a particular brand, researches on a particular brand category. In all of these circumstances what is presented to the consumer by search engine might have brand preferences built in.

Google Sets

John Mayo-Smith of R/GA has written an interesting article Courting the Mind of a Different Kind in Advertising Age. He is talking about a new service by Google, Google Sets that returns lists of terms with things in common. If you type in “red,” Google Sets returns “red, blue, green, black, yellow and white.” (Note the difference between Sets and Search, which returns links to websites). Google Sets is still in beta, but it can be used as a kind of aided awareness test to illustrate how Google “thinks” about brands.

What happens if you type a brand name. Here is what John found when he typed Hyundai and Toyota:

…’s what Google associated with Subaru: Toyota, Volkswagen, Saab, Suzuki, Volvo, Nissan, Rover, Triumph, Rolls, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Pontiac, Honda.

Here’s what Google associated with Toyota: Subaru, Volkswagen, Nissan, Volvo, Saab, WILLYS, Suzuki, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda.
In this experiment, Subaru is associated with a wide range of 14 brands, while Toyota is associated with a narrower range of 10 brands. These results suggest Google “thinks” of Subaru differently than it does Toyota. ……………………………….. Whatever the reason [for this distinction], the fact that Google can tell brands apart may influence search results, which could, in turn, affect sales.

Here is my search results for “freedom” and this what Google Sets (search: Freedom) suggested – Freedom, Equality, Money, Control, to combat boredom, parties and fun.

Aha, now I need to find out how to have money so I clicked on “Money” and viola first link is CNN/Money, second is MSN Money and so on.

You should not be supervised if in a second version of Google Sets it remembers my other searches, geo-location, gmail (emails) and comes back with a more specific (to me) result.

Here are Google Sets thoughts on my search for “cruises“.


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