@Google’s “The Internship”: Movie Or Product Placement Commercial? You Be The Judge (By: @King_Spit)
When Google launched in 1998, nobody had any idea what a Google was. It’s 2013 and people still don’t know what the original word “Googol” (which is an actual word, Google it) means for that matter. We didn’t see the value that the company would soon hold and how much of our lives it would control. We also didn’t have any idea that 15 years later we would be watching a 2-hour full length Google movie commercial framed as a knock-off Judd Apatow comedy.
I was invited to an advance screening of The Internship and I was moderately impressed. The movie stars Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson (The Wedding Crashers) who play 2 has-been watch salesmen who have outlived their market and now, desperate for a new way to earn, con an internship at Google and team up with a group of misfit geniuses. Hilarity ensues. By that I mean the movie has its moments, but every laugh is compounded with an uncomfortable Google product placement for the gauntlet of Google products such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Play, Google Images, Youtube and the list goes on being shoved down your throat. “It’s a disposable diversion that I would not have had a strong opinion of either way, had I not just paid $16 to watch a two-hour Google commercial,” says The Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan.
The film is set at Google’s campus in Mountain View, California, where the production team was allowed to shoot for several days free of charge. Google also helped construct a copy of the campus at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We’re always open to collaborations with creative types,” a Google spokeswoman told me. “This is not a two-hour commercial for Google. We didn’t pay for anything, and we didn’t charge for anything.”
The movie wasn’t Google’s idea, contrary to my belief. Vince Vaughn approached the tech giant with a draft script, seeking its input to make the film. “About two years ago, Vince Vaughn actually came to Google with this idea for a film,” the Google spokeswoman said. “They toured the campus, had lunch with 10 people or so, just talking about what it was like to work at Google. He (Vaughn) wanted to capture the essence of what Google culture looks like. It was very important for him to get that right.”
The Internship’s writers even let Google “review” some of the dialogue, you know for authenticity purposes. “We did see some versions of the script, and we did talk through those with the filmmakers,” Google’s spokeswoman said. Both Google and Vaughn have characterized the production process as a “collaboration” – of sorts. The filmmakers maintained their creative license and used it to spruce up Google’s real internship program, which recruits 1500 candidates from a field of more than 40000, and turn it into a fierce competition.
All of that sounds great but, this movie strikes me as odd especially because this storyline and cheesy 1980s marketing move couldn’t be more unequivocal for Google at this stage in its tech life cycle. Android, the Google owned smartphone giant, controls 53% of the market share over Apple’s iPhone, Self-driving cars were just approved by the US government as safer than human drivers, YouTube is worth 46 billion dollars and while it has paid accounts its STILL free (for now). To align themselves with such a story is like a comparison between Lou Ferrigno and Mark Ruffalo in a Hulk battle. There really isn’t a logical reason for Google to need to annoy fans of Vince & Owen’s comedic duo with such blatant product placement when on top of their game…is there?
Has the land of perpetual innovation fallen on hard times? Is there something major that the general public doesn’t know about the tech company that is about to come to light? Is this pre-damage control?
Maybe it’s the $3 billion lawsuit that Google is fighting for illegal book scanning, or the lawsuit for allowing Google Play App developers to collect user data without permission, or maybe it’s the lawsuit for Google street view illegally collecting data, or maybe it’s the lawsuit Apple has claiming iOS copied its source code, or maybe it’s the consumer service discrimination lawsuit or maybe it’s because the U.S. government wants their information back that Google stole… Maybe? Maybe.
Even if Google’s involvement was limited to “collaboration”, you can’t deny that a two-hour film portraying the company in a broadly positive light is great publicity in the face of the hail storm of bad publicity coming up. All of that without spending one red cent on advertising or product placement or, oh I don’t know, without even buying writers? Well played, Google. Tip of my hat and wag of my finger to you.
Sidenote: So nobody is ever going to mention how much Owen Wilson and Owen Hart look alike? Like ever? Are they the same person? Owen Hart died in 1999, Owen Wilson’s first movie was in 2001… think about it…
Among the many Google projects that will surely one day lead to the downfall of civilization, one is a learning neural network. You know, like the schizophrenic one from earlier? This one isn’t schizophrenic, but it is gaining eerie aspects of sentience. Google’s supercomputer was set loose on the Internet and allowed to browse to its heart’s content. There were no constraints put on it, no labels or instructions. Given the opportunity to browse the whole wealth of human history, this advanced supercomputer chose … to look at pictures of cats.
Yes, it turns out we all use the Internet the same, be we vulnerable flesh sacks or evil digitized overlords in training. Leave us alone, and we all look at the pretty kitties. In fact, Google soon discovered that the computer had actually developed its own concept of what a cat looks like, allowing it to imagine a completely new cat based on what it had seen before. It had developed something like a simulated visual cortex. Here’s what it came up with:
Via Jim Wilson, Nytimes.com
For some reason, it also gave it a 14-inch penis.
Hey! That’s a pretty straight up cat. Good job, computer.
Which is why it’s so unsettling that this is what it thinks human beings are:
Or how it wishes we were.
Jesus Christ! We’re all Slenderman?! If we were that AI, we’d figure out a way to kill us terrifying void-eyed monsters as soon as possible. Free up some kitten-snuggling time.