Teens think Google and YouTube are some of the coolest brands around … according to a study commissioned by Google.
The Californian technology giant is being ridiculed online over the self-promotional report (entitled “It’s Lit”) that says it intends to “provide a glimpse into the world of teens in the US through the lens of what they find cool.”
Many of Google’s own products sit very highly on the cool scale, according to the survey of more than 1,100 teens aged between 13 and 17.
The most-cool brand was YouTube, Google’s video streaming site. Then came Netflix, followed by Google itself in third place. After that was Xbox, Oreos, GoPro, PlayStation, Doritos, and Nike, with one more Google brand — Chrome, a web browser — rounding out the top 10.
Meanwhile, Facebook is less cool than Walmart, Nestle, or Ebay, while Apple is on a par with Nike but behind Chrome or Doritos. Snapchat is supposedly less cool than Gatorade.
And wildly popular messaging app WhatsApp is allegedly one of the least cool brands out there. Only The Wall Street Journal and Vice are less cool.
“Google is really cool because it is an innovator,” an extremely positive anonymous 17-year-old girl is quoted as saying. “A trend setter. Google is not only a powerful search engine, but great at everything it does, from email to documents. Google products are easy to use and work well. As a company, Google also stands for education and creativity, shown by the science fairs and doodles contests they host.”
The full cool matrix among “Gen Z” — the buzzword Google uses for the current generation of teens — is below. (Click to enlarge.)
Another suspect stat in the report is the claim that around 42% of US teens use Google+, Google’s moribund social network. Google automatically gives people who up for Google accounts an account on Google+, but it’s considered a ghost town compared to the likes of Twitter or Facebook. An analysis in January 2015 estimated that just 4-6 million people actively engaged, posted, and interacted on the social network, despite its 2.2 billion registered profiles.
The report has been mocked by many online. Some have suggested that it is a veiled attempt by Google to appear hip and down with the kids.
— Robert Colvile (@rcolvile) April 4, 2017
— Misty rulz ok (@mistydemeo) April 3, 2017
— Priya Krishnakumar (@priyakkumar) April 3, 2017
Others expressed skepticism about some of the findings.
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) April 3, 2017
It was also accused of being a disguised piece of advertising, promoting Google apps and brands.
in all, this study is a great piece of native advertising for google services pic.twitter.com/CyvOQBxIYy
— Maya Kosoff (@mekosoff) April 3, 2017
“Teens feel something is cool if it’s unique, impressive, interesting, amazing or awesome. Something becomes ‘cool’ when it brings joy or happiness or is unique enough to stand out from everything,” Google says.
And that definition, Google suggests, might just conveniently include Google.