Guess what greeted us inside the Highbury & Islington tube stop: a gigantic advertisement of Google’s latest outing – Google Chrome, the company's home-built internet browser.
Oh the irony of it! That Google, who earns nearly 99 per cent of its profits by creating new platforms for people to advertise, is resorting to traditional advertising itself.
To me, the advertisement marked the final chapter in Google’s life as a lean, highly-independent, cutting-edge enterprise still redolent with the memories of two geeky Phd students who created a powerful search engine in their friend’s garage in sunny California just over a decade ago.
Since then, Google would go where no man had gone before – well, most of the time anyway. The Google Search Engine, Google Earth, You Tube, Orkut: they were all first of their kinds in their fields (even where they were not created by Google itself). If it wasn't a pioneering venture, it was not of enough interest to Google. Hence, it never needed to advertise because it would start out as the market leader. Others hoped to capitalise through their association to Google.
But web browsers have been done by others, and done fairly successfully. Google Chrome can, at the best, offer more of the same.
So I am left wondering, is it the beginning of the end?
Check out BBC's tech correspondents report on the best technologies of 2009. Seems like Mark Ward is on my camp, and Rory Cellan Jones on the opposite. (Though where did Jones hear that Google has already unveiled its operating system? It has unveiled its decision to develop one, but hasn't launched the operating system yet. And it is not called Chrome, it is called Google Chrome OS. As as tech correspondent, I would have expected him to not confuse the two.)