A New Age Battle with an Inevitable Collision: FB vs. Google
February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
When you want to learn more about someone, what’s your go-to web platform? Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn? For me, it is always Facebook. I’m certain that on Facebook, I will get to see recent photos from a friend’s drunken 21st birthday outing, the oh-so-interesting daily updates of an ex-classmate’s ENTIRE 9 month pregnancy (…seriously?), or what my aunt cooked for dinner last night. But when I search someone on Google, I might see their stats from a high school basketball game they played in six years ago or the Flikr account they created then immediately forgot about (exciting stuff). However, Facebook’s search engine doesn’t even compare to Google’s. I can’t remember the last time I went 24 hours without Googling something. Google’s algorithm builds a HUGE map for sites in the online world. It gives me the most linked-to sites when I search “Austin coffee shops” which tells me what is the best. I trust Google with so many decisions in my life, it’s ridic.
On the other hand, Facebook allows me to see what’s popular among MY people. When I see that a friend has checked into a particular bar, it makes me what to go to that bar and see what it’s all about. When we ask our for our friends’ opinions on things, we are asking because we trust their judgments. Facebook allows us to see all our friends’ opinions in one place. It’s the ultimate word-of-mouth resource.
In the 1990’s the tug of war was between old media and new media. Today it’s new vs. new between the Internet’s two most important companies, Facebook and Google. The web giants offer consumers different services: Facebook is for personal interaction and creates a huge social graph showing everyone’s interpersonal connections to one another; Google is utilized by information searchers and advertisers. But one day the two giants are bound to collide, possibly in an ugly manner. Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has many times voiced his opinion on Google. In 2007, Google planned a hefty investment in Facebook but Zuckerberg arrogantly turned it down for a $240 million investment by Microsoft (which gave Microsoft a 1.6% share in the company).
So what’s the future look like for the two?
Every great company experiences flops. It’s called trial and error.
Google has attempted their own take on social media with software programs like Google Wave, yet their attempts are still far from reaching Facebook’s international popularity when it comes to social media. You can bet Google is experimenting with several social media platforms and maybe one will soon take off in Web 2.0 fashion.
Facebook’s search engine has greatly improved from its humble beginnings in 2004. It’s no longer just a search bar that lets you find one of the 500 million users on the site. It’s an excellent medium for fan pages. When I search “Kings of Leon” on Facebook, their fan page pops up and I can see that 21 of my friends “like” KOL. There’s a link to their Web site, a touring schedule, the band’s bio, and interactive elements that make me feel closer to KOL. If I “like” their page, I will get new information sent right to my newsfeed, thus making my job be just sit back and let it all come to me. Easy. Other musicians, celebrities, and businesses are using fan pages as free advertising and a medium for consumer interactivity.
The social giant is finding that lawsuits are a part of big business–not just by the Winklevoss twins. A number of suits have been filed against Facebook, including one filed back in August concerning violation of privacy rights. Facebook users have voiced their concerns that the privacy settings aren’t so private.
At what might be the peak of Myspace, I was a junior in high school (2006) and my college-aged sister told me about Facebook…so I joined. An avid Facebooker for five years now, I feel FB and I have a pretty close bond.
We’ve seen major sites like Excite!, Yahoo, Myspace, etc. fail. Withstanding the brutality of the net isn’t easy. Most Internet companies get bought out and we never hear from them again. Facebook is seven years young and hasn’t even reached its peak. I don’t think we should expect it to go anywhere. (Example: the bubble that the people in the Texas Panhandle–where I originated–live under has recently been burst and they’ve finally caught onto FB. They’re a bit slow on the times there.) Facebook is a platform that epitomizes what the Internet is all about: humans’ desire for communication, connection, and exchanging information. Zuckerberg and his some 1,500 employees have shown that they can evolve and will give the people what they want.
Can Google and Facebook coexist forever? It’s working now but I assume one will reach the top and the other will crumble. Only time will tell.