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Monday, December 17, 2012

\'Gossip Girl\' Secret: Don\'t Google It

Monday night's mystery is whether “Gossip Girl,” in the series finale, will finally reveal the identity of Gossip Girl herself. Less of a mystery is what kind of device she probably uses to send her scandalous blasts.

Chances are that it's Windows.

Microsoft's products - most recently Windows phones and tablets, with their telltale colored tiles directing you to apps, folders and social networking conversations saved on your device - have been slipping into the Upper East Side, as props and even lines in the scripts.

Microsoft pays for the product placement as a sponsor of the show. It turns out that the company has an astute understanding of one of the tag lines of “Gossip Girl”: “You're nobody until you're talked about.”

Young women copy the characters' schoolgirl blazers and ankle boots, and fashion designers have paid to have their clothes featured in the show. So it only makes sense that Microsoft hopes people will also copy the characters' technology choices.

And technology has been crucial to certain plot developments - whether it is an intimate moment recorded on a cellphone that comes back to haunt those involved, a character's breaking into her friend's Web site or e-mail account or the frequent Gossip Girl text message blasts.

A couple years ago, the characters started saying, “Bing it” when they wanted to search online - although sadly for Microsoft, that phrase did not become a runaway trend the way that, for instance, Serena's tousled hair has.

Hewlett-Packard is also a sponsor. After Serena used the HP Envy 14 Spectre laptop on the show before it was available to buy, the network ran a contest to give one away.

In the last few episodes, leading up to Monday's finale, Nate and Chuck stole the cellphone (a Windows phone, of course) of Chuck's father's business manager to eavesdrop on Chuck's father, and Serena looked up Thanksgiving recipes on a tablet (Windows 8).

It is a stretch that not one member of “Manhattan's elite” uses an iPhone, but it is a fantasy show.

Maybe Microsoft's product placement contract had a clause that said evil characters, like Bart Bass, wouldn't use Windows devices. When a dead man rang the phone of Mr. Bass, who has also recently arisen from the dead (it's a long story), a close look showed that he carried a BlackBerry.