Google, by virtue of the sheer volume of their daily visitors has built into their site what might be the greatest viral marketing tool ever … their corporate logo.  And on occasions outside of the standard American holidays, they often use the logo to promote their cause, product, holiday or scientific endeavour of the day.  This is the 21st century of branding, where things like logos are no longer sacred shrines never to be touched or polluted by reversing out or taking some other liberty.  Google’s brand is all about exploration, innovation, and the promise to never be evil.  Make good on that promise or not, you have to admire the power their simple homepage and it’s singular logo. 

I2m_googlemarslogo So when today I found the logo slightly changed, I had to click on it.  And ended up at Google Mars.  Google Mars presents NASA’s data in an accessible way, adding it to the store of human knowledge the company has already taken a leadership role in cataloguing. But more importantly, they have gotten people talking about it … with "mars" showing up as one of the five most popular blog post tags for today on Technorati (and a huge volume of posts tagged "google mars").  I imagine it would have been an easy sales pitch one engineer must have had when he proposed that perhaps Google Earth should not be the only planetary map Google publishes. Perhaps with the recent Cassini discovery, Google will even expand to moons and launch Google Enceladus. NASA would do well to tap Google again to spread the word and build support and publicity for their efforts.