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Google takes on Facebook with long Google+ TV ad

During the Packers vs. Lions Thanksgiving Day game, Google airs a 90-second ad that attempts to differentiate Google+ from that other social network. But does it confuse things further?

2 min read

The nice thing about living on the West Coast at Thanksgiving is that when the first NFL game is played, you're still empty-stomached and full-headed.

This helps when the ads come on, because you actually (vaguely) notice them. I must have been out of the room when, during the Lions-Packers game, a Google+ spot appeared. I trust TechCrunch, which says that it did. And I worry that I didn't miss much at all.

Somehow, this ad feels almost as long as most Thanksgiving lunches. If anything, though, it is even more intellectual.

In the ad, people--presumably real people--talk, like, about, like, their lives and, like, their friends.

The mood is just slightly sleepy, which means that for those who watched it on the East Coast, this must have blended quite oddly with the ninth beer.

But there was one piece of vox populi that truly summed up this ad, Google+, and even Google as a company.

Please put your glass down and pay attention: "I know there are people who are just driven by, kind of, internal confidence that lets them see their path from here to there. I've never been that guy. I've always been part of a community."

I wonder how many people can see their path to the point of this intellectual thought or, indeed, to the point of Google+.

You know why you use Facebook. Because it's simple--well, apart from the privacy settings.

This Google+ thing, when it launched, seemed just a trifle more brainy. Now along comes this long disquisition that makes it seem, well, even brainier. Or at least, to the normal human being, not noticeably different from Facebook. Or, well, what is it?

The idea behind this ad's tagline, "Sharing. But like real life," is very sound--intriguing even. It's a pity that the vehicle chosen to express it is so convoluted and soporific.

Would it really have been entirely impossible to sum up the gorgeous joys of Google+ in, say, 30 or 40 seconds?

Perhaps it would. Perhaps that's why Google+ is reportedly struggling to retain user excitement.

Perhaps that's why it's suddenly being advertised during an NFL game with a long, long spot.

Perhaps that's why I was tempted to reach for a glass of wine when I eventually saw it.