Thursday, March 02, 2006

Google's long shadow

An article in yesterday's New York Times, demonstrates that librarians are not the only ones who are concerned about the impact of Google. Google also has ad execs on edge. The article discusses how Paris-based advertising and media conglomerate Publicis, opened a firm called Denuo that employs futurists whose job it is to defend Publicis and its clients from Google's entrance onto the advertising stage by anticipating trends. I had to smile at a comment from one lead futurist who the article quotes as saying, "Traditional ad companies, with their human-touch marketing skills, will always have an important edge over Google, he said. "Human beings can never be captured in an algorithm, and Google only understands algorithms," he said."

Here too is where librarians have an edge over Google. Marketing as a whole is becoming much more personalized, and librarians are experts in tailoring answers and resources for people in a very personal way through reference interviews, needs assessments, etc. Librarians, like the ad execs in the article, should scan the horizon for trends at that offer new ways to create and deliver those personalized, value-added services. If it takes a Google to shake things up to get organizations on their toes and thinking creatively about marketing, then such competition is a positive development, and not one to fear. Goolge's bold moves on numerous fronts presents a perfect opportunity to clarify and express our value, both for patrons and for ourselves.

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