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PR Takeaways From The Google Nexus One Launch

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In the biggest product launch of this short year, Google yesterday afternoon launched their first ever smart phone, the Nexus One. So how did the launch go?

The reviews

Walt Mossberg of the The Wall Street Journal was mostly positive. The New York TimesDavid Pogue was more negative. “Google Phone Is Not Revolutionary,” read his headline. Engadget’s Joshua Toplosky said the launch generated, “legitimate excitement.” CNET’s Rafe Needleman said, “it’s a solid step in Google’s continuing assault on new markets in general and on Apple in particular, but it’s not revolutionary the way the iPhone was…”

“It’s like the Obama of phones. Whether or not he’s really a great president, he can’t possibly live up to expectations he originally set,” said David Berkowitz, Senior Director of Emerging Media & Innovation at agency 360i.

Why No Video?

Flatiron Communications founder Peter Himler wondered why “Google’s PR peeps didn’t go through the trouble of web-streaming their own news conference, while arranging for on-site attendees to record wirelessly, to ensure optimal site lines and audio.” Instead thousands watched a stream set up by blogger Robert Scoble.

“They did the video feed for arguably less meaningful launches like Google Wave,” said Berkowitz.

Courting “influencers”

The list of people receiving Google’s phone in advance wasn’t at all limited to journalists. For example, venture capitalist Fred Wilson received the phone several weeks ago.

Google PR guaranteed feels more “comfortable” giving the phone to Wilson than say Engadget or the Times, as his review is much more likely to be positive. It was.

Wilson does not regularly review tech products and receiving such a high profile gadget in advance surely leads to excitement that could perhaps skew a review. Also, as a tech investor and not a journalist, he is less likely to be critical of the product.

The relatively new concept of “influencers” – some hate the term – means more and more people from different professions getting “pitched” by PR firms than ever before. Even PR people with popular blogs, like Edelman’s Steve Rubel or FutureWork’s Brian Solis get pitched. Robert Scoble, who was invited to the press conference, is a paid adviser to hosting company Rackspace.

Apple crowding

Per usual, Apple made it’s best attempts to crowd the news-cycle as we reported. “I think Apple got themselves in to the news with the tablet, and while iPhone would have been in the articles, it got Apple top of mind as usual,” said POP! PR Jots blogger and tech PR executive Jeremy Pepper. Edelman’s Steve Rubel saw things more positively. “Google plus phone is a surefire for press coverage as Godzilla plus city,” he told us.

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