Google ‘Email Intervention’: Make Your Luddite Friends Feel Bad

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Now why in the world would Google spend time putting together a marketing campaign in the hopes of getting Gmail users to recruit non-Gmail users? The wildly popular service doesn’t really need advertising. Hmmm.

Perhaps it’s because when you sign up for a Gmail account, you actually open a Google account that can be used for the company’s almost innumerable other services—including that newfangled Google+ project.

(MORE: Is Google+ Momentum Slowing? Report Says Visitors Spent Less Time on Site)

It’s no stretch to imagine that instead of having people without Google accounts using its search engine to find things, Google would rather have people signed in so it can collect better data.

Aside from all that, the marketing campaign poses the idea of an Email Intervention, wherein you send a customized message to your luddite friend’s Prodigy account to make him feel bad about himself. Poor—he doesn’t even want to use electronic mail in the first place and now you’re guilting him into joining Gmail.

Google’s official blog post states:

“I have one friend, Andy, who’s the straggler in the group. A couple months ago, I sent out an email about a barbecue I was having. On the ‘To:’ line, there were 15 Gmail addresses and then Andy. He stuck out like a sore thumb. Shortly thereafter, Andy was complaining to us about how much spam he got. That was the last straw.

My friends and I sat Andy down and talked him through how to import his contacts. We answered his questions, guilt-tripped him a little, and a few painless minutes later we were done. Andy had Gmail.”

This poor guy.

Probably unemployed, clearly not comfortable with technology, and his friends “guilt-tripped him a little” all because of a barbecue. A barbecue! Those are supposed to be fun and relaxing but now here’s Andy sitting inside while his hot dog gets cold so he can import his contacts.

Google’s got a point about the spam, though. Gmail’s good at catching spam.

MORE: A Brief History of Google’s Social Networking Flops