Back in late 2001, Fortune Small Business ran a piece on Google that opened with this priceless puff of PR:
Not long ago, when a frequent Web surfer started having chest pains at work, he decided to search the Internet to find out what to do if he had a heart attack. He started using one search engine, but it was too slow because the banner ads were loading, so he switched to Google. After getting the information he needed, he headed to the hospital immediately. Later that day, he had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. He was so grateful for the information he’d received that he sent a letter of thanks to Google’s founders.
“Not only did our search engine save his life, but it shows that these decisions – like whether to use text-based or graphical ads – matter,” says Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. “That was an extreme case, but I think in daily life having quick access to all the world’s information is important to people, and that’s what our company is about.”
Today, Google announces its new partnership with AOL, the terms of which, according to the New York Times, include the introduction of graphical ads on search results pages: “Users of Google’s search engine will soon see something they are not used to on the notoriously spare site: advertising with logos and graphics.”
So if you start having chest pains at work, you might want to call 911 and take a couple of aspirin before you start searching.