For some Google regulars living in California and elsewhere in the United States, the search engine of late has been using some of its nearly barren home page (www.google.com) to promote the newest version of the Firefox with Google Toolbar, something it developed with Mozilla, the browser's maker.
The tool bar, Version 2, was unleashed about three weeks ago, so promoting it this way seems like a natural thing for Google to do. And Google's always used that space to promote its own services.
But the spotlight Google's giving to its own harkens back to an earlier point by Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post. As his theory goes, Google wouldn't make that prime ad real estate available to anyone else, so there's something inherently unfair about devoting the space to promote a Google product.
At the time, it was an interesting, if not widely criticized, note worth saving for future reference. With the big Firefox download ad appearing in some browsers recently, Post's note gains a little more credence, especially considering how the Firefox browser is supposedly the first-ever product not entirely from Google to be featured so prominently on Google's home page.
The promo comes as Google's been monkeying with the look of its well-known www.google.com site for a while now in other ways, in order to find a better way to search. It took the rare step of noting some recent tests on the official Google blog, presumably to ease any confusion as to what's going on.