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Google polishes Chrome, Microsoft calls foul

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Screen shot of Google's Chrome ad

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Google may be known for search. But its billions came from cornering the online ad market.

So the tech press enjoyed a touch of irony when the Web giant commissioned its first TV ad. "What does it mean when a company that built its empire on Internet advertising decides to turn to another medium to promote its own products?" chuckled Ars Technica.

This 30-second spot promotes an odd branch of the Google family tree: Chrome, its fledgling web browser.

The ad's tone is inexplicable, yet somehow appropriate. Google has always portrayed itself as a company that plays well with others. It couldn't adopt Apple's light-hearted smugness or Microsoft's fake candid moments. Instead, the Chrome ad seems to have been filmed in the corner of a kindergarten classroom. It's playful and colorful (much like Google's logo) but only lightly alludes to what Chrome actually does.

Google has done a lot to buff its browser recently. It regularly talks up the program's speed, helpful updates, and growing developer community. But despite plenty of buzz among early adopters, Chrome holds a measly 1 percent market share.

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