Google staked a claim in one of the most ad-saturated neighborhoods in the world this week with a billboard the width of a city block. After signing a long-term deal with Vornado Realty Trust reportedly worth millions, the company began advertising on the biggest billboard in New York City’s Times Square — over 20 million pixels big.
The Mitsubishi Electric screen occupies the entire block of Broadway that lies between 45th and 46th street, and even wraps about another 30 feet around each corner. Its true resolution is 2,368 x 10,048, and it measures over 77 feet tall by 323 feet long. It will reportedly be under Google’s control until the end of January 2015.
The rotating series of graphics on the eight-story-tall screen promote many of Google’s best known offerings, like Google Maps and Android. The latter dominates the billboard, provoking passersby to “Androidify” themselves by creating a personalized version of the Android Robot with an Android tablet-equipped employee on the ground. Each person’s creation eventually appears somewhere on the billboard, and while people wait there are options to get a postcard or shirt emblazoned with their newly-created likeness.
If you’re on the block it occupies, the billboard easily towers over you. When you’re up extremely close to it you’re even likely to feel a quick hit of vertigo. It’s the kind of thing that almost singularly stands out from the visual din — until it disappears as you walk a few blocks away past the unlicensed Elmos and find a bigger crowd staring at a Revlon billboard one-fifth the size.