Friday, September 5, 2008

The Tone of Chrome : Google's Writing

I have always appreciated Google's tone with respect to their online writing (e.g. privacy policies). They are folksy, conversational, and intelligent.

Tonight, after reading the piece "a fresh take on the browser", I have a new adjective: confident.

No Exclamation Marks!!!

There was something about the text of the above article. I couldn't put my finger on it. Then I realized it was distinct from the usual marketing hype in IT and the mainstream media: no exclamation marks. This hit me like a lightning bolt: it was a bit like when I discovered that the uber-funky Prince song, When Doves Cry, does not have a bass line. It's almost like an implicit, secret message.

The Comic

I had a theory on this and raced back to the Google Chrome Comic. There are virtually no !!!'s there either. I counted only 2 by the main protoganists (there are some others in the background). This seems extraordinary for a comic piece, and I think is a major contributor to the tone.

The Message

I'm no expert on professional writing, or comics. I don't know if Google actually worked with the writers to keep the hysteria factor down, or if they would even talk about the punctuation (though I suspect they would).

My take on the underlying message is that Google is manifesting a serene confidence. They don't need to hype the message. Interesting stuff, and I think an important lesson for both advertising and writers, even if we only write blog posts and/or email messages.

ps. A first observation: Google Chrome and Blogspot seem to be a bit at odds. I wrote this article in "Compose mode" with Chrome and later discovered many empty div and span elements, which created some rather spacey spacing. It is now being corrected in FF3.


Alex Miller said...

On the secret message thing, kind of reminded me of Coltrane's masterpiece "A Love Supreme". The liner notes contain a poem and the final movement of the piece is him "saying" the poem through his instrument. But if I recall it took literally years before someone realized that the poem and the music were that directly related.

Sorry this has nothing to do with Chrome. :)

Michael Easter said...

No worries, it pertains to music, and plus it is very cool....

In a related note, Bach's last fugue may have consisted of the notes B, A, C, and Bb, which seems pointless until one notes that Bb was written as H in German. I read somewhere that it might have been musical graffiti ("JSB was here." ;-)