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Photo tour: The Google booth at Macworld

We check out Google's digs at Macworld 2008 in San Francisco.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

I'm a sucker for good show booths. Yesterday I got to sneak a peek at Google's Macworld booth while folks were still setting up, and wasn't sure what to expect in the way of new stuff. Today (to my surprise) the Mountain View-based company had one of the most jam-packed booths despite the lack of any new service offerings. What was the big-ticket item, though? The swag, and to be more specific--the Google swag scavenger hunt.

Google was offering four tiers of swag for expo-goers: Cub Scout-style merit badges, a rubbery grip pad for any portable device, some colored tube socks (not the cool YouTube ones from D5), and a pair of black flip flops with the Google logo on the top.

The setup rallied four stations showcasing Google's various product offerings, including Google Earth and Maps, the recently updated iPhone mobile service, and applications for OS X like Google Desktop, Picasa, and Sketchup, which had been showcased at last year's expo. At each station event-goers had to talk to a Google rep about the service in question to get the hallowed red Google stamp of approval. For each stamp you got on your card, you'd get to graduate to a higher level of swag, or get multiples of the lower tiered items.

Here are some shots from the booth. Let's start with some of the stations:

Google's 'Geo' station was just a showcase of its Maps and Earth products, neither of which received any sort of update today besides the mapping add-ons given to iPhone and iPod Touch users. CNET Networks

Google's 'You Tube' (note: it's one word) booth wasn't the best looking, but it was the most fun to play with. CNET Networks
Google was giving away a Vespa to some lucky winner, although the TOS on the sign-up form were too long to read, and we were too excited about the Google branded socks to bother finishing it. CNET Networks

And now, on to the goods:

In order to get your swag you had to go around to each station and get a stamp. We heard there was a guy selling stamps over by the men's restrooms, but didn't follow up on that tip. CNET Networks
First up on the swag offerings were these Cub Scout-style merit badges. Something tells me sewing these on to a backpack is not going to get you the ladies, though. CNET Networks
Next up were the tube socks, which weren't as cool as the YouTube socks from D5, but better made. Grabbing these cost you three stations. CNET Networks
The granddaddy of all the Google Swag items were the black flip flops. These puppies set you back four stamps. Your public shower room will never feel so soft. CNET Networks

So the final question is whether or not it was worth it to go to all the stations. Today I'd say no, as all of them were packed, and getting back in line to get your swag was a pain. However, if you're planning on going to the expo hall in the new few days definitely swing by if only to see the (not pictured) four-screen monitor they've got set up for demos. Oh yeah, and the flip flops.