Teen vampire movie 'Twilight' one long Google ad

Anyone who questions Google's dominance in search engines need look no further than the latest-release DVD shelf. Twilight, a vampire boy-meets-girl teen romance based on the mega-popular book series by Stephanie Myer, came out on DVD this weekend. (And if you have teenage girls at home, you know that already.)

The film was weird in (more than) a couple of ways. First and foremost, the vampire was presented as an upstanding, protective, romantic boy that any girl would be lucky to date (despite the constant threat of desanguination). The second was Google's extremely prominent product placement.

The main character, Bella, realizes that her most recent love interest is a bit different. She assembles all the clues--his skin is cold to the touch, he never eats or drinks, he is unusually strong and fast, etc.--and what does she do? She plugs them into Google, and immediately, the search engine returns just the results she's been expecting/dreading--he's a vampire!

The Google logo took up nearly the entire screen for a few minutes while Bella entered her search--prominent product placement that probably cost Google a pretty penny. And it shows a new side of Google. In the past, it seems Google was more the tool of cool spies (ala Jason Bourne tracking down other spies via the search engine in the Bourne Ultimatum), or suspicious adults (Scarlett Johansson's character googling the magician's name in Woody Allen's Scoop). And while googling also came to the fore in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up (when the little girl tells Katherine Heigl's character that she googled murder), that movie was not really aimed at the under 20 crowd. But with Twilight, Google's set its sights directly on the huge teen market.

When you think about it, Google is the perfect research tool for a teenager. It's quick, it's fairly accurate--and it's a bit more private than rifling through the library, since there's no nosy librarian tracking you via the card catalog. (Although Google's internal tracking is probably as onerous, it's not nearly as overt.) And most teenagers grew up using Google. They view it as just a regular household appliance--no harder to use than a toaster. So the placement made sense.

And with Twilight selling more than 3 million DVDs its first day, Google's sure to get plenty of mileage from its cameo. Which leaves one big question--If No. 1 Google gets it, where are Yahoo and Microsoft? Wouldn't such prominent product placement help a No. 2 or 3 engine more than the Google? Just wondering.

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