Master Plan: How Google is Going to Dominate the Entire Universe

Carole Guevin over at brought Master Plan to my attention, a visual essay/conspiracy theory about how Google might be evil after all.


Maybe I’m naive, but I’m not too concerned about Google amassing a database of my personal information to… well, I don’t know… build a clone of me? (That’s what the film seems to imply, at least.) It seems Google has passed that magical threshold of success after which all entities, regardless of their credos, must be involved in some kind of international conspiracy to dominate the world.

In terms of motion graphics, the film does some interesting things, but they’ve all been done first by Simon Robson and others. What I DO like about the project—and this, I think, is very important—is that “Master Plan” is yet another example of how motion graphics can be used as a vehicle for visual essays. (I won’t call these sorts of projects documentaries; that term seems a bit overblown for a 3:15 animation.) But I am very pleased to see the creators of “Master Plan” choosing motion graphics as their mode of communication. It’s much more effective than a series of talking heads or a PowerPoint presentation.

So while I may disagree with the thesis of “Master Plan,” I heartily congratulate its creators. I hope that everyone who has something to say considers saying it with motion graphics. It is, after all, the most culturally relevant mode of communication for our young century.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



This is so ridiculous. Why the blatant “what barry says” ripoff? Of course it would be so much worse if it was a commercial product stealing from another piece but i just can’t get it why they couldn’t come up with a different visual language and direction.


Shorts like this are always going to come down to the quality of content and strong writing no matter how whiz-bang the one shot transitions are executed.

I think that Googlezon/Epic short from last year was more entertaining despite it’s low production quality:


While it’s unfortunate that the creators felt the need to borrow so much from the superior What Barry Says, I’m a big fan of motion graphics for these kinds of essays instead of mindless drink more cola crap (which are still fun to watch). I’d be interested to see more of this type. Obviously, we’re going to see a million commercials for every visual essay, but are there more of these hidden somewhere?


Speaking for myself at least, I’m quite excited about your observation about motion graphics’ being “used as a vehicle for visual essays”. If our medium makes critical thought fashionable, I’m all for it!


chicO said it…PLEASE, at least STATE THAT YOU ARE RIPPING KNIFE PARTY OFF, even in a comical way. Not sure who the target audience is, and if they will ever know of “What Barry Says,” but, you need to say it in some form.


the website says it was inspired by ‘What Barry Says’


i like being naive too.



knife party rocks!!


oh man, i have no idea what possesses people to copy something so wholeheartedly. I have too much pride.

Yes, i have thought of motion graphics pieces as Visual Essays for a couple of years now.
They are gonna be fun to make. (specially cause i have vision. haha i will not reserve myself.)

Thanks for posting that.
I don’t see how google having our dna information makes people transparent.
How does that work? It seems that the creators of this got all fired up on an idea that, well, is easy to get fired up on. They just went full bore.
Personally I’m bored with conspiracy theory, “Its an epistomological cartoon about reality. ” Terence McKenna.
I’m not worried, you see, I have a new mantra for life.
” Give into the Machine!”
thanks justin.
word up


nicely animated, very fluid



I agree with your points and I agree that I DO like motion graphics being used to illustrate essays and arguments but watch “what barry says” again. these student aren’t just being influenced by the style or the content (I mean “what barry says” in heavily influenced by soviet propaganda art).

But here much more is being lifted. Even with an “inspired by” tag… I mean.. come on… they took the timing, the VO, the music style, the begining and end tagline pacing, the colors, the grunge overlay, and even the freaking accent (is that someone with a german accent trying to sound like a british accent?)

I know they are college students but they obviously want the world to see this (with a mailto tag on their website) so they need to learn that their critical thinking is heavily sullied by the fact that they weren’t innovative enough to create their own concept.

And it would have been so easy!!! Come on look at the google logo? The five different colors and the font? the concept/ and colors are right there!!!

my $.02

queens bridge

it’s one thing to jock something, and remove it from it’s original context, but to do another politically motivated piece in the barry style is just unlawful, and i’m gunna have to call the cops.


I dunno…I thought it looked pretty good. Can’t say I’ve seen the other shorts people are talking about. Links?


Very very dissapointing so unoriginal. I was a big fan of what Barry says and this is a crime that they ripped it off so blatently. The fact that they are students is event worse they should work on their own style instead of stealing from others.


True. Things are ripped off for marketing purposes all the time, but we expect students to be original.


Students stealing ideas!? What a scandal!
Ahhhh…. relax…. This kind of style is all over the place, they’re not the first and not the last to “borrow” (or shamelessly copy) ideas from others. I bet every single one of you has “borrowed” from another artist and made it your own. Plus the message of “Boo google is out to get us, get under your desks” is just funny.
(Haven’t we learned from Southpark? Butters ran into the same problem while trying to dominate the world! Simpsons did it!)

Waving Hi

idea…maybe this crew and knife party could make one website for both films. Suprised no one else thought of this.

I find that information pretty interesting+informative. I’m going to delete all those correspondence with al Queda out of my Gmail, like right away.

Simon Robson

Well done with the film. A valid discussion of an important issue. In terms of style, well, in a way this is a sort of tribute. The fact it starts off with ‘Google is the most powerful search engine on earth’ is a direct play on the opening lines of Barry McNamara’s polemic; ‘The United States of America is the most powerful nation on earth’. So in that it is a kind of tribute, it’s not really a rip-off. Cover bands aren’t ripping off the originals, they are covering them. That said, it seems like the operators and directors have a firm grasp of 2D and 3D motion graphics software. So in a sense, with a bit of imagination, the motion world is their oyster. So really to make an impact on the industry and make work which is enticing to employers, they might want to work up their own styles a bit. That way they will stand out and have a new ‘approach’ to offer. That said, this is a neat piece of work and the animation works well with VO. SO well done. And echoing what others have said here; motion graphics is a perfect medium for issue film, lets see more of it! Simon


Simon you are very generous- It’s great to hear stuff from the source rather then the echo chamber of the internet…




This and “What Barry Says” remind me of a similar presentation, sort of a spoof of these didactic, narrated animations. It was silly and nonsensical and drew a bunch of random connections between unrelated concepts. I could swear it was posted here sometime in the last few months, but a hard-target search of the archives doesn’t turn it up.

Does anyone remember the animation I’m talking about? Anyone have a link?

Simon Robson

Jameson, are you refering to the ‘mind-mapping’ film created by Julian House and Matt Cook at Intro in London? I can’t find it on youtube though. It’s kind of a spoof of old 1960s open university films explaining psychological concepts. They made it for an instalation at the V&A museum in London and got people taking bogus tests and stuff. It was a complete spoof though…


I was pleasantly surprised to see that the style and narrative structure of What Barry Says is so strong. Every moment of that film screams What Barry Says, down to the way the VO come out. Got yourself quite a recognizable ‘brand’ Simon – I wanna see the next episode!


i think its good to copy styles, you learn by doing this.
and its much better to copy/being inspired, than trying to come up with an “own style”,and doing crappy looking stuff.
this kinda comments are so boring and outdated.


eh, and u all forgot to mention
“Trusted Computing”

its a ripoff too, right?


eh!!!! conspiracy talk about google tracking or keeping record of everyone, and these idiots use GOOGLE’s own tracking software (google analytics) to TRACK visitors to their own (ie, website????



Sure, he said it was fine.

James Yi

I used google to find this page.

Andreas Wacker

When the ‘masterplan’ ‘broke’ on the internet the first 50 or so blogs discussing did NOT make any reference to the knife party original.

Back then there was also no ‘inspired by’ disclaimer on the MasterPlan website. At least that’s I remember when I looked for it.

This being the internet the problem seems to have corrected itself. Credit went back to the original work.

Instrumental part of this self correcting mechanism, and working pretty well in most parts, is google. Any decent search engine that people would want to use has to behave like this.


Yeah I mean had the design scheme and motion design been original I could appreciate it. But it is like they are trying to rip it off. I saw this somewhere else first and I thought it was just a parody. The more I watched it, I found that it wasn’t. Google has done so much as far as internet communication and technology I don’t know why the backlash. I don’t entirely believe in this. I mean maybe what they are saying is true but I would still like to see references plus I am not convinced google has bad intentions just because they have power.


BLATANT RIP OFF. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah “What Barry Says” was influenced by propaganda art but they still did it with some creativity. Stop sucking off others like some fucking design leach, student twats. Oh no Google nazis…..Fuck off.

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