The Most Interesting Company in the World- Counters its Biggest Threat

The dictionary defines it as "search," its coffers are stuffed with 44 billion in cash, its Android operating system runs the majority of the planet's smart phones, its X labs make Star Trek seem the stone-age; it is- "The Most Interesting Company in the World."-- "I don't always surf, but when I do, I prefer Chrome."
Adding to its Biblical technological profile, Google has entered the ring to take on King Goliath (Facebook) in social media. Sometimes to up your Biblical profile, you have to enter the arena as David.
Google + was an absolute necessity, but not necessarily with the primary objective of competing directly with Facebook, but rather, to defend its search engine moat.
Today, G+ is superior in functionality to Facebook. Its graphical interface is more elegant, and its use of "circles" was a novel step, far simpler and more intuitive than Facebook's "groups." The ability to video conference with multiple parties at one time in a "hangout" seriously ups the ante, and is a feature which Facebook still hasn't been able to counter.
If this was even three years ago, Google + would obliterate Facebook, mainly because Google  has the traffic and clout to more rapidly build its network. But today, no matter how many people have signed up for G+, the percentage who are active users remains quite small. This is because the center of gravity in social media is Facebook. It is the sun, and nearly everyone on a computer sees the company’s light on a daily basis. The larger Facebook becomes, the greater its gravitational pull, and the more people (planets) end up in its orbit.
The Universes most technologically advanced races, use it to their way home.  
If the axis of Microsoft/Bing/Yahoo were to come out with a superior search product to Google, which to me would be the equivalent of seeing Germany win a world war, all you would have to do type in the new web address, fulfilling your (singular) objective of finding the most relevant search results. But if your friends all hang out in a run-down dump of a bar every week, and one night, tired of the filth, you fold your arms and say, "Screw this, I'm going to over to the fancy, shiny, new place, and you morons can stay here for all I care!" and you storm out with no one following, might I suggest you learn how to apologize, because socializing isn’t an individual sport. (unless you enjoy long conversations with yourself, and I'm not meaning to judge, but you're not pitching Dos Equis)

Video Dos Equis Style- Google versus Facebook- enjoy!

Everyone else is still at that dive bar Facebook, where people meet the human needs of significance and connection from having their posts commented on/shared by their amigos, whereas on Google + it feels like you’re shouting on the stage of a 100,000 seat coliseum with 8 people in attendance.
Now, I mentioned above that a large part of the reason for Google’s development of this platform was to defend its search engine moat. Who can jump the moat? The answer: only Facebook. Why? Well, to pull the words right out of the mouth of a Google executive, who stated last year; “We don’t necessarily have the best algorithm, we simply have the most data.” If that’s the secret, guess who’s accumulating MASSIVE amounts of data daily. Where do people spend upwards of a couple hours a day online whispering into Goliath's ear their exact preferences, who they like, what they like, where they are currently located, etc.
We are already seeing Google integrate your +1’s in its own searches. They are trying to head off Facebook, anticipating their next likely move, which is, flushed with cash flush from its IPO, Goliath creates a personalized search engine that takes into account what you "like," what your friends like, their assesments of things, etc. Apple's Siri is using Yelp’s ratings to guide you to restaurants, it’s also why Google bought Zagat, and is opening its war-chest and marketing clout to develop Google Places; because personalization is the next evolution of search.
I don’t know how likely it is for Google to overtake Facebook in social media, because whatever Google does Facebook can copy very quickly (though as mentioned above, FB still hasn't countered hangouts). But rest assured, Google’s strategy in entering the world of social media is not with the hope and prayer of knocking out Goliath with its slingshot and stone. They're doing this to widen the moat around Google’s primary realm, to prevent Goliath and its growing size from trampling on their kingdom.
Til next time, stay thirsty my friends.

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Comments

  1. G+ is a bridgehead setup for Google in social arena (and probably the last bridgehead which stands a chance to stop fb). It has been late 2-3 years which gave Facebook huge advantage of gravity.

    Yes, I agree Google does not need to compete with the Facebook as a website sharing baby pics or food photos or social gaming, and it might be the main reason why Google is so late to the game because they thought "Let them have the baby and dog pics" (They failed to concentrate on Orkut and regarded it as a project only)

    However, don't underestimate Zuckerberg vision, and Google wakes up before too late. Traditional Google moat is that it is the toll bridge between websites in the internet and since it was the toll bridge, it can also tracks users pattern so to plant ads not only on toll bridges but also virtually everywhere in the web.

    Facebook strategy is to build a black hole for the web by several steps.

    1. Owning the complete social graph, gravitational pull... (DONE)
    2. Selling this graph to businesses so that they start building website and content in the facebook rather than outside. Slowly people checking info more and more in facebook pages rather than websites (UNDERGOING)
    3. Pages cannot do all the things so there will still be apps and websites, but Facebook starts to figure out how to bypass the Google toll bridge, first by "Like Button", then by social referral, ie. Open Graph. What is terrible for open graph is that not only it boosts traffic to websites but also at the same time telling fb what people were exactly doing everywhere in the web. By building this social backbone system (and a closed one) the playing field with Google will now be even (STARTED)
    4. Now with #1-#3, facebook can build a search tool... (TODO)

    So Google has to stop this (especially at #3), so the goal is to provide an open social backbone system integrated with search so that websites and third party apps has an alternative social platform connected.

    It will be a war for the future for both parties. G+ site and facebook.com is only one of the many battlefields which will define the new future...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ben, well said as usual. Google (the white knight) the last thing standing between Facebook and Internet dominance.
    Who would have thought that a few years ago! (and of course, those who aren't long Google probably see it in reverse)

    Ben, love your thinking and comments. Cheers man :)

    ReplyDelete

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