Adland purposefully shied away from yesterday's tragic events, believing quite correctly it was wise for an ad based site to stay the hell out of commenting on something of this level lest we look stupid, biased, opportunistic, or worse-- like we left our twitter feed in the hands of an emotional but not objective or rational intern or social media tinkerbell who, caught up in the furor and frenzy of wanting to be first with a brilliant link or pithy turn of phrase to be retweeted endlessly, can only utter the same sheep bleats as anyone else in this situation: "we need more gun control," "our hearts go out to the victims." In short, though we care mightily and deeply about the issues at hand, and emotions have run high and hard around the office here, it's no more our place to say something publicly about it than it would be, say, Sports Illustrated. And to go hunting for some remote tie-in would as bad as interviewing a child victim.
However. It won't stop us from pointing out what we see is a company trying and coming up way short of the line in its effort at sincerity.
There seemed to have been one company who is usually better at providing us with context and education, albeit in the in the form of playing with their logo. One company whose product we use on a daily basis, that could have communicated something of real substance, who chose to weirdly, do not much at all.
I'm talking of course about google doodles. We've seen them in everything from Robert Moog's awesome 78'th birthday playable moog to one celerbating the invention of the zipper, so you think the "Don't Be Evil" people would want to, I don't know, do more than put a fucking candle on their website, with no links and the same vapid announcement as uttered by a hundred bazillion people already:
"Our hearts are with the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut."
All well and good, I suppose, but no links? What links could I be referring to? I dunno. You've managed to come up with links for every stupid doodle in the past. In this case, how about this link from the Newton Patch entitled "Talking to your kids about the Newton tragedy." They could even swap it out on an hourly if not minute by minute basis, as there are plenty of articles to be found on the subject. With all their money they might have even considered a fucking memorial fund. In short, anything would have been nice. Any. Thing.
Instead we are left with an empty statement uttered so many times before by everyone else, by a company that stands for innovation. A company choosing not to put anything, not money, not a face, not even a pertinent link where its mouth is.
As we try to make sense of the insensible, as we turn online for solace, guidance, in some cases arguments and debates, we go to google like we do a hundred times a day. And instead of substance, we are left looking at an ever-dimming corporate candle that illuminates nothing but the sad state of a milquetoast corporation, offering nothing more than rote condolences and an illustration looking like it took ten minutes to create.
This from the company who just a few days before released a year-in-review film touting the fact the world searched for everything from Hurricane Sandy relief to Gaza/Israel on google, ending with the inspirational phrase "Search On."
And the saddest irony of all: The search engine priding itself on always providing the best search result offers up nothing when America needed it most.