Why Google+ is Not Competing with Facebook
Facebook is an Entertainment Company, and Google is Knowledge Company.
There is an incredible amount of misinformation out there around Google+ and Facebook, and I wanted to clear the air. Now while you could say Google is competing with Facebook, and this might be true depending on how you look at it, they aren’t. Sure they compete for the same eyeballs and people’s time, but they are not competing products. Facebook and Google both want to be advertising companies when they grow up, and in a sense both already are. But they work differently, and are different products at every level.
The reality is saying Facebook and Google+ are competing is like saying your water works company competes with your electrical company. You need both!
Facebook is for your Family and Friends
Just take a look at your Facebook posts, see whom you have listed as friends. Now I can’t talk to everyone and customize a post for each of you, but the reality is Facebook has your mom. Facebook has your dad. Facebook has your grandparents. Facebook has your ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends. Facebook even has your friend’s dog. You post pictures of your new baby, outings with the family. When I post something on Facebook about a technology topic, my mom posts “I love you son”. And it’s very cute, and awesome, and it makes me glad I can stay in touch with my family throughout my relentless travel schedule.
Google+ is for your Interests, Sharing, Learning
Google+ doesn’t have my mom. When I post something on Google+ about technology to my “circle of technology”, I get insightful comments from people. I get threaded conversations that cause me to think, and ultimately learn from others. I’ve carefully built a list of “insiders” I like to follow on marketing and technology that teach me something new every day. When I post things to my wall, and “plus one” things I like, people that subscribe to my feed see it. They get notifications. When they perform a Google search, their results are affected and things I have clicked “plus one” on gain more relevance.
Google+ is Evolving Search
Many years ago I wrote a Blog post titled “Who Wants To Beat Google”, and it was all centered around making search more social. It talked about how we naturally trust our friends 10 times more than any algorithm. I gave examples where I asked the question: Would you trust a Super Bowl advertisement to buy a brand new 52 inch LCD television from Sony, or would you trust your best friend that loves technology telling you that the new Samsung LED television is the best TV on the market.
Google Knows Something
Google knows their algorithm is awesome, and that nothing can touch it. However, when they saw Facebook, they realized that the one thing that can beat an algorithm, is people. Mahalo and others have tried in the past, but their model didn’t scale and was not real time. Google had nothing to worry about. However once Bing forged partnerships with Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter to try and infuse search with social media, they realized there was a challenger at hand. In fact, as Twitter continues to evolve its platform, and improves it’s own search, Twitter itself is starting to compete with Google. Google had to evolve its search engine. It needed a search engine that was real time, powered by an evolved algorithm, was driven by social sharing and social communications, and was tied to everything in the “Google stable”.
Google needed to build a way to track people’s social interactions on all of its properties. YoutTube, Search, News, Android, and more. It needed to build a hub for people to share real-time information. It needed to build a social platform less focused on your mom and your ex-boyfriend, and more focused on what your true interests and passions are. It needed to build a platform for you to share and interact with your work colleagues, and share valuable information you find on the web.
Google+ is not competing with Facebook. Facebook will continue to thrive. Your mom is not going to create a Google+ page any time soon. We as consumers are witnessing the evolution of search, the evolution of an advertising company, and the beginnings of Web 4.0 that will be all about artificial intelligence. Television will just know what to record for you. Your phone will know when you walk by a store you like and send you a coupon. The advertisements you watch during a hockey game will be customized to your tastes. We live in an exciting time, and I for one can’t wait to see what 2012 brings.