Google is trying to get socially relevant – A mistake
Although Google has tried one trick to make it more social media relevant ( which is a mistake, in my opinion. More on that later). It has added a ‘like’ button to each of its button for users to recommend.
Privacy – Facebook has it(At least some )
No one shares private thoughts on Google or write it on blogs so that it can be indexed and fed for world’s consumption. If I dislike something, I would keep it to me or to my friends in a close circle. I would never allow everyone to read what I like and dislike. Google unfortunately does not provide any such privacy. You may mark a page not to be indexed but it is still open to world,( if it is not password protected ). Also it does not provide a way to share thoughts with everyone that I share my feelings with. Facebook does not allow indexing to happen (on its private pages ) thus protecting the information ( which might be unpalatable ) sometimes from prying eyes.
Here Facebook wins because of the fact that it provides privacy( to a certain extent) for your thoughts. Privacy is going to be an important issue in future when more of our information goes online and Google needs something to work on it.
Advertisement, the latest and the most important battleground
The new battleground is ad revenue. Till now the guerrilla Facebook was attacking on Google outposts where Google had left a lot of doors open. However ad revenue is mainstay of Google, like a mother ship. Google uses a complex algorithm to provide the ad displays on various sites in the world. Users visiting sites click on the ad and thus Google makes money from the clicks.
Facebook has got 500M captive users
Facebook does not deliver ads on any other site but on its own. However a strong base of 500M + users make sure that these ads are viewed and clicked.
Facebook ads are easier to setup
It is much easier to set up a Facebook ad than using Google adwords. There is a learning curve before someone can start using adwords while using Facebook ads is as easy as just signing up.
Facebook has more information about user interests- effective trageting
With a wealth of private information available to Facebook, it is much easy to mine and use for advertising. Google cannot ever imagine to get hand on such an information.
Google has left too many doors open
So by now you can imagine, what Google is up against, a guer
rilla Facebook to which it has left open too many doors and thus has allowed to become a major force.
Google’s wrong response
The response of Google has been familiar. Faced with the onslaught of Facebook, Google has tried some tricks up it sleeve. Many of them are however not that useful in fighting the Facebook threat. It has added a ‘Like’ button to its search result undermining its own robot’s results. What it means that now we are confused. Next time when we see a result would it because of like or because of page optimization Google wants us to do? It is not a very good move for its publishers and advertisers because it creates confusion in their minds about the direction it is taking. So Google is trying to become like Facebook in a quest to fight it.
Next it is trying to revive its old products like Buzz and Orkut which have not really caught user attention. That means now Google is trying to prepare a product like Facebook to counter it. To me it is a bad strategy because when I ( or anyone ) think of social media, the first thing that comes to mind is Facebook and not Orkut. Google has a great perception problem here. It is more known by being a search engine giant with a great email service. World can never look Google as social media service.
The wheel has come a full circle.
Google won over Microsoft on the internet space because Microsoft concentrated on desktop while totally neglecting fast growing internet . Microsoft has never been able to catch Google on internet despite having good products like Windows live/ Bing. Microsoft probably is not even trying to be in social space.
Google is now facing the same fate as MS in those days. It risks its territory reduced because of Facebook threat. It is already under threat from multiple ad networks ( though they are farway from getting Google’s scale, which is a good news).