If you haven't seen Google's latest TV ad, then you're missing out on a prime opportunity to get all kinds of verklempt. See, in the video, baby Sophie Lee's parents started an account, firstname.lastname@example.org, for her the very day she was born, so they can send her all kinds of heart-wrenching things — like a video of her giggling with tousled hair on her first birthday and a note about how she wanted to name her little brother Salt. They collect all these treasured memories for years just waiting — patiently — for the day when they can share this with her. Suddenly you're thinking maybe one day little Sophie Lee can do that for her own daughter, and wow, life goes so quickly when you are the sweetest chubby Asian baby and your parents just love you so much, right? Wrong!
As Rene Ritchie at TiPb points out, the ad is actually a cleverly disguised ploy to manipulate your lack of cynicism toward innocent blobs so that Google can nab all your personal data — and the data of your future children — to sell ads. (The Apple ad Ritchie mentions only plays on your emotions with a sonogram app for the iPad and thus is nowhere near as insidious.)
Google’s latest ad wants you to store personal details about your child’s life, from birth, on their servers. Google wants your data so they can sell it (aggregated and anonymized, of course) to others to make money.
Taken in that context, Apple’s ad might be obnoxious and highly commercial, but Google’s is downright creepy.
But I do think about how each company makes money and what they have to sell to make that money. Apple makes almost all their money selling hardware products — selling to you. Google makes almost all their money selling advertising — selling you. (Or in this case, your child. Seriously.)
Lucky Strikes–era Don Draper would be so proud.