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February 28, 2011

Google and the Value of Social Networking (Part 3)

Paul Buchheit, the ex-Googler behind Gmail and a former Facebook employee, answered a question about the rivalry between Google and Facebook.
There is an interesting competitive element there because Facebook is growing very fast, and obviously, Google would like to compete in the social-networking space. They have finally realized its importance, and they are finding themselves, maybe for the first time, with the realization that there is someone who is way, way ahead of them.

There was a moment with Microsoft that they assumed that Google was like, "Well, yeah, search isn't that important. And if it does become important, we'll just hire some people and we'll take over." They kind of thought it was something they could win really easily, and they underestimated the difficulty of it. I kind of feel like Google may have reached that same moment with social networking, where they realized, A, it's important, and B, it's really hard to win.

Paul is not the first ex-Googler who thinks that Google didn't understand the importance of social networking. Another former Googler said that "there is some belief at Google that their DNA is not perfectly suited to build social products", while Aaron Iba, who worked on the Orkut team, noticed that "social networking [was viewed] as a frivolous form of entertainment rather than a real utility".

{ via Avinash }

14 comments:

  1. yes facebook is way way ahead of google in 'conventional' social networking. But facebook can also be disrupted, not by another giant social network or by Google, but by a number of smaller relevant social networks. Foursquare is one good example of a smaller social network which is growing despite competition from facebook.
    And the mobile address book looms as a potential future disruption to facebook.

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  2. the challenge for google is not to try to beat facebook conventionally, they are going to fail massively, instead they should try to use their strengths and find those niches where facebook would find it difficult to compete(with google's strengths). And I believe facebook's real competitor is not Google, it is the entire email concept and Apple.

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  3. Using Google's massive features is rewarding but it is also hard work, there is no intuitively warm and fuzzy about it they need to learn from Apple, Facebook, or better yet Blackberry. Apple and Facebook are not that advanced everything they offer can be done a more efficient elsewhere. Blackberry in their inception was technologically efficient and user friendly at the same time plus it was business venture where an investment makes sense. When people want to have fun they don't want to invest they just want to do, they just want to run the marathon not train for it! Google's interface is ugly and the instruction books are written in the user forums with heavy drilling required, all be it much more powerful and dynamic with zillions of switches for customization but also very elitist, socializing is more same-o same-o and should be easy!

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  4. I agree that the interface should be easy, but there's nothing pretty about facebook, it looks quite ugly to me.

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  5. don't compare facebook and apple. Facebook is just a glorified website, but Apple is the best product company ever.

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  6. Google is Best Best in the Search Engine,No one can beat Google in it and Facebook's Popularity is Increasing Day by Day for the Purpose of Interaction so both has its own importance but in both Google is best for me

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  7. yeah,Paul this is really strong competition between both strongers one of worlds best web browser and another one is world best social networking site..great content i have found here!!

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  8. Google scours the internet to find data. Facebook provides a user interface to create and store relationships.

    Google uses algoithms, statistics and computer power to discover the unknown, Facebook lets their users do the work for them.

    Wikipedia lists Sergey and Larry are computer scientists, Mark as an entrepreneur.

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  9. "There is some belief at Google that their DNA is not perfectly suited to build social products."

    This does seem to be the case. All their social offerings look and behave like an engineer designed a solution to a problem. What's missing is a real understanding of the incentives that drive social media use.

    Facebook gets it, or at least part of it; they know how to drive adoption, and they enable improved social interactions for their users.

    Ironically, the clearest exposition I have yet come across on what social networks might look like in 5 years was created by a (now ex-)Googler. Highly recommended if you want to get an idea of what "The Social Web 2.0" might look like. http://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-network-v2

    There is still plenty of opportunity for a competitor to disrupt this industry. I'm just not sure Google can -- or should be -- the company to do it. If you prefer writing code to singing karaoke at a bar, then maybe you should stick with what you know.

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  10. Nothing can beat facebook if we speak of social network sites, for now.

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  11. www.placeitlocal.com, makes website marketing easier.

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  12. Well I wanna say is that Google and facebook are the best. Google is the finest invention on web and Facebook is wonderful to meet people.

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  13. Facebook s the king of social networking while Google is the king of searches.

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  14. People dont give a damn about how pretty it looks as long as they can stalk other peoples pictures and updates. Thats all that matters to our low primitive minds and thats what they of they profit out of us. Also the only thing thats keeping people from migrating to something better is: the hassle, your friends are already on facebook, people are already familiar to the system... So facebook is like an online cellphone where you can store your contacts and stalk them. There must be a way to overthrow its simple concept by inventing something that will add what facebook still hasnt found.

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