Google Search by Voice, Droid Invade NYC's Times Square

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-26 Print this article Print

Verizon Wireless' advertising efforts for the Motorola Droid know no bounds.

Not only are creative Droid commercials reaching us through our televisions, but on interactive billboards in Times Square, which as the mecca for tourism in New York City is also, by default of many of us humans behaving like sheep, the mecca for advertising.

For the last few weeks, those who have access to Google Search by voice from their mobile phone have been able to call a special number, do a voice search for a business or tourist trap attraction, and see the result displayed on the Reuters sign and the NASDAQ sign in Times Square:

Droid 2.jpg

As you can discern from the ad, this is another part of Verizon's smart Droid Does campaign, aimed at knocking Apple's iPhone off its sturdy pedestal. Reuters and digital ad agency R/GA conspired with Verizon on this.

That experiment ran daily, but only from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST and again from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

Beginning tomorrow at 6 a.m. EST, those who have iPhones, Android devices such as the Droid and Droid Eris, BlackBerry devices, and Symbian gadgets will be able to call 888-376-4336, and search by voice for eateries, retail stores and attractions that strike their fancy, and see their results displayed on these signs for 20 hours straight:

Droid TS 1.png

Google Senior Software Engineer Mike LeBeau suggests:

So if you're in the area and have a chance to take a break from your shopping, or if you want to see your next shopping destination displayed on a Google map on the huge signs, give the demo a try and let us know what you think.

Now that's an ad in itself even if it's more subtle than the jarring Droid ads that recall an attack from Terminators.

Woe to you who will be in Times Square for Black Friday. Perhaps this experiment will give you succor from the shopping demons.

And an experiment it is. LeBeau said a caller's voice is sent through the phone system, directly into a pack of Droids running voice search that are connected to the big outdoor electronic billboards. Seriously. It looks like something patched together by the wacky robots in Short Circuit:

Droid 3.JPG

Obviously, the Droid campaign is generating a lot of excitement, or at least trying hard to infiltrate peoples' brains.

Meanwhile, analysts are still waiting for the alleged Google phone, which is supposedly coming in 2010. |

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