• 03.29.10

Google Goes Dead-Tree to Recruit the Digitally Illiterate

simple guide to the internet

Oh, the irony. Google is to produce a leaflet in an attempt to push the remaining Luddites in Britain toward the Internet. As part of the Race Online 2012 campaign, headed up by founder Martha Lane Fox, now the Government’s online guru, the search engine is printing “The Simple Guide To The Internet.” With ink. On paper.


One-sixth of the U.K.’s population of 60 million have never used the Internet, according to Government figures, and Lane Fox has been charged with changing that statistic. She’s used her extensive contacts in the tech world to get large corporations interested–so far, Sky, Skype, McDonalds, BT, TalkTalk, Microsoft, and 14 brands in all have signed up to the Pass IT on scheme.

Google plans to distribute its leaflets at libraries and other public bodies. The pamphlets will not plug the Internet giant’s own services and will have an online presence with a complementary website. The aim is to get another million people online by the world’s Best Before date–if you’re a Nostrodamus fan, that is.

“Well, if you’re trying to get people who are not on the Internet to be interested in the Internet, then realistically you’re probably going to have to do something online,” was a Google spokesperson’s sanguine response. You can’t argue with that.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.