When Google announced that it was going to integrate Google+ with its search results, its biggest competitor in the search market, Microsoft's Bing, remained quiet while social networks like Twitter raised the hue and cry. Now, however, it looks like Microsoft is about to pounce on this chance to raise awareness for its product with an ad it is running in a number of major newspapers this week. The main slogan of the ad is "putting people first."
Microsoft's VP for corporate communications Frank X. Shaw argues that "the changes Google announced make it harder, not easier, for people to stay in control of their own information." Microsoft, instead, takes a different approach according to Shaw: "We work to keep you safe and secure online, to give you control over your data, and to offer you the choice of saving your information on your hard drive, in the cloud, or on both."
The ad itself focuses strongly on how Google "cloaks" the changes to its service in language like "transparency," "simplicity," and "consistency," yet, in Microsoft's view, Google only cares about one thing: "making it easier for Google to connect the dots between everything you search, send, say or stream while using one of their services."
After pointing this out, Microsoft then notes that if Google's thirst for data "rubs you the wrong way," Microsoft will be there for you with products like Bing, Hotmail, Office 365 and Internet Explorer.
This is definitely Microsoft's most aggressive public campaign against Google, a company that has been slowly invading Microsoft's turf in quite a few areas, including the highly lucrative office productivity business. In 2010, Microsoft ran an anti-Google campaign by trying to convince Google Apps users to switch (back) to Microsoft's products.
Just a few months ago, such a campaign could have easily backfired. Now, however, with the arguably unpopular changes that Google has made to its service and its incessant pushing of Google+ to the point where even the Daily Show's Jon Stewart is making fun of it, consumers may just be open to some alternatives to Google's products.
Here is the ad: