Crossing the line

It’s always fun to watch a huge entity like Google develop a sense of humor. Things like custom logos – the pacman google logo, 1e100, the messages on youtube takedown notices saying ‘sorry’ with a little sad face.

There’s a fine line between being ‘professionally cutesy’ like that, and crossing the line and making yourself look like a teenage kid or worse is working on things behind the scenes.

Google just added a new ‘cutesy thing’ that goes past the line of ‘profesionally cutesy’ to ‘childish’. Basically, it’s a contextual menu for the HTML5 youtube player that has a ‘save video as’ option – when you click on that you’re directed to the ‘Rick-roll’: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/01/youtubes-html5-rickrolling.html

It’s a humorous touch; but it’s destined to confuse users who aren’t experts in the “terms” – and what stands out to me, is the immature handling of their ‘video saving’ problem by a bait and switch link. The repercussions of something like this delve deeper than just saying “get a sense of humor”. Corporations and institutions looking to leverage youtube expect a somewhat professional conduct of the site.

Interestingly enough – a few years back my peers and I were evaluating PHP frameworks – one of them was CodeIgniter ( http://codeigniter.com/ ). Something of a little nitpick I pointed out while we were talking about it – was that the main phrase in the graphic on the CI site said “… that helps you write kick-ass PhP programs”. I mentioned it might be a poor decision because people like us research, pawn and direct others to it; to other professionals it might look tacky to have ‘kick-ass’ written on there when you want to utilize it in a professional matter. The verbage on that graphic has changed … wonder if google will figure it out…

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