Google dominates search to such a degree that its name is synonymous with the service, but the company is still trying to foster awareness of its newer and less ubiquitous offerings like the Chrome browser and Google+. Nowhere is this effort more apparent than in the company's ad spend, which nearly quadrupled in 2011 to $213 million, from a meager $56 million a year before. Of the total, approximately $70 million went to TV — more than 10 times higher than the $6 million the company spent in 2010 (Google's first year for TV ads), according to a report from Kantar Media (via WSJ). While Google's newfound fondness for advertising is significant, the report also notes the company lags behind the likes of Microsoft and Apple when you look at advertising as a percentage of revenue — posting 1.2 percent compared to 1.5 percent from both Redmond and Cupertino.
Google isn't the only tech giant trying to make its less well-known products mainstream; so too is Microsoft, which is flexing its creative muscles with new TV spots for Bing and Internet Explorer 9, as well as the now-infamous Smoked by Windows Phone campaign of in-store challenges. The effectiveness of the increased TV ad spending is of course hard to quantify, but as long as we keep getting ads like this Muppets one for Google+ (below) we're happy to keep watching.