Facebook Vs Google – Its a war out there

by Ashvini Kumar Saxena on May 19, 2011 · 25 comments

in Business

So does Google have good strategy?

Yes, in my opinion. The recent Panda update is a case in the point. By attacking its own weakness( bad search result) and working on it , Google has gained leaps and bound in reputation. By delivering more accurate search results, I think Google has managed to address a strong captive market of its, which is not going to go away.

Strengths that Google can leverage to keep Facebook away from the lion’s share of Ad revenues.

If you were a king of an empire and you were informed of an impending attack , what would you do?

  1. You would first strengthen your own defenses.
  2. For e.g. you would find out vulnerable points in your fort where enemy is most likely to attack and reinforce them as fast as possible.

  3. You would then recruit more army
  4. You would also look out for enemy’s army weak points and would create weapons strategy to exploit them .
  5. You would meet more allies and ask for their support in return for yours in more opportune time.
  6. You would also develop newer weapons so as to combat the ever growing threat.

Google has immense advantages still available to it because it is the ruler of an empire and a defender.

Let us take a look at some of its strengths

  1. It has a strong user base of already existing customers and publishers
  2. It has a technological edge that is unmatched
  3. It has a solid reputation that does work ethically and in a logical manner
  4. It is a well respected brand .
  5. It dominates the internet search market
  6. It has added Android operating system to dominate the growing mobile market and is doing it really well
  7. Frankly, Google still commands much much more respect than any of the other internet companies. ( See the poll, Google ranks far ahead of facebook ).

To fortify its defenses, Google has been updating its search engine often to get more better results for its end users. Panda update is a case in the point, where till now spam sites which rode on the top because of misleading tactics are now biting the dust. Google has been  been constantly changing its user interfaces and getting into areas that were probably neglected sometimes ago.

Neglecting Orkut is a mistake

In my opinion, Google is neglecting Orkut. I am very sure there are plenty of people like me who would prefer the simplicity of Orkut over Facebook. However a lack of freshness in Orkut for a long time is working against Orkut. In a war, the defender just needs to stay one step ahead of the attacker. Orkut would have become a weapon against Facebook and stemmed its rise. But sadly, Google lost that ground and once you lose it getting it back is very difficult because you are now an attacker and your enemy the defender. It will keep building trenches  to protect itself while you wonder how to attack and reclaim your territory.

What are the wrongs of Facebook that Google can exploit?

Facebook is making far too many mistakes. In my opinion it has become complacent in area such as privacy and spam, which is probably the most important to an end user. The privacy issues at Facebook are inspiring  tonnes of articles on how Facebook is invading the privacy of the its user.

Even though I said that Facebook has probably more advantage with  privacy than Google because of its business model it is negating the advantage.

Read here for such an article on privacy crisis. Too many privacy issues and inept handling by Facebook is really playing havoc with Facebook’s brand image. People are scared to share personal information on Facebook  with friends because of the privacy concern. This is a direct threat to Facebook’s main business ( of attracting more users to its fold).

How Google handled such an issue previously

Even though same concerns came up when Google started sifting through the emails in the Gmail service to deliver the ads, I think Google handled it pretty well. But see how Google handled it

Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email in order to target advertisements or related information. This type of automated scanning is how many email services, not just Gmail, provide features like spam filtering and spell checking. Ads are selected for relevance and served by Google computers using the same contextual advertising technology that powers Google’s AdSense program.

Facebook has been constantly attacked by malwares, spams and their threats are growing everyday. Unless Facebook really correct this issue , I believe a new product “TightBook” with water tight privacy features may replace “Facebook”. Already  “Path” with its tighter policy controls and limited number of friends is proving a good Facebook rival. Maybe its time for Google to buy Path and develop this as weapon against Facebook.

In Summary here is how I think, Google can win over Facebook.

  • Improve search results constantly
  • Develop better relationships with Publishers and Customers alike
  • Develop new products to gain more market of ad revenue
  • Reduce complexity of its products and make it more user friendly
  • Buy or create a program similar to Facebook with a “Different brand name” ( not Google) or under a different company ( cannibalize).
  • Keep working on improving privacy levels ( hit Facebook at its soft spot)

I would love to know your opinion on this issue. Please vote below /comment to provide your opinion

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Who wins the Ad revenue race in the long run -> Facebook / Google?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica Cervera October 21, 2011 at 6:03 am

In terms of search, there’s no doubt that Google is still king. However, Facebook search is geared more on the exactness of the query. This is why it’s troubling to Google. No surprise they launched Google plus. In the end, people are going to prefer the “Facebook” platform for search. It’s just a matter of time.

Reply

Shivangi Sharma July 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm

i truly agree with u.Anything which has got human touch will be more successful.We r social beings and isolation is not what we need.Facebook helps us to connect with people worldwide bt a powerful networking site like google would not let it go so easily .Recently i heard that google is going to commence a new networking site to compete with facebook.
let us now wait and watch what happens and see who wins this never ending race………………………

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena July 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Hi Shivangi,

The race has already started. Google has launched a product called as Google plus. It is going to be interesting for sure. Let us see.
Its great to have you here. Keep coming back.

Thanks.

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Saif July 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm

The main reason why Google leads Facebook is that Google is well established and Facebook is still a minnow. Even if Google+ fails, Google won’t incur huge losses because it will cover all its monetary issues with other services like Adwords, Adsense etc. Facebook is just a Social Networking Website and is at par with Orkut, Buzz and Google+ while on the other hand Google is ‘Giant’. It can swallow Facebook as a whole just as Facebook did to other small social networking websites i.e. Myspace and Friendster with one successful launch or either ways. So, just wait and watch. This is the war of a Crocodile and a Frog ;)

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena July 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Hi Saif,

Thanks for your comments and welcome to my blog :)
A big ship takes time to sink. We can replace Google with MS and FB with Google and see what happened to Microsoft.It was so much powerful and had so much clout. Now what is it , unable to bring out even an improved OS? Technologies are disruptive and the changes they bring in can turn around situations were quickly. If Google was a croc and FB was a frog then why did Google needed to crackle like a frog. Something suspicious here? It is a testament to the fact that FB is threat because Google has copied FB like idea and now call its own. Its too early to say demise of FB. Till now FB has 750 + m subscriber and Google managed to get only 10+ m . Not much of a damage to FB.

Its great to see your view. Keep coming back

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Holly Jahangiri June 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Ashvini,

I see the +1 as a way for users to counter the paid results – BUT, we all know that most +1 votes will come from users who want +1 for themselves, have a solid network of similarly motivated friends, and can get those friends to click things on request. The results will, therefore, be skewed. It would have been better if search engines had remained neutral and let people slug it out with useful content and organic “popularity.” I can’t go so far as to say they’ve made themselves obsolete, but I find the results less useful than they were a decade ago.

I’ve often argued for a mandatory “Why do you like/dislike this?” upon voting. It’s hard enough to get people to click little stars and “Like” icons, and reciprocity makes it about as meaningful as a nod to a stranger or a passing “hey, how’s it going?” while you keep walking, not really caring about the answer. That’s not “social.” Granted, the occasional passing “Like” is a nicer way than “Poke” to say, “Hey, can’t stop to chat now, but wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and noticed you posted something mildly interesting…” There’s value in that – sometimes, that’s all it takes to get a “blah” day off to a smiling start. But when overused in the meaningless sense, it means nothing.

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena June 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

Hi Holly,

No one could have put it better than you. I find it difficult to understand + 1 at this point in time. Is Google so much troubled by its own result set that it needs people to tell if they like it. As with any system, if it is built into their search result, it can be misused and if not, what is the point ?

Google in my opinion,
a) should buy an anti-facebook social network( which values privacy and other things more than FB)
b) Leave the search results as it or make them stronger
c) Concentrate on improving relations with publishers and customers

Like is a nice way to really add your opinion to a discussion or a video. But the concept is taken and no one would be able to reinvent it. As they say “Sorry but the seat has been taken “.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
Ashvini

Reply

Holly Jahangiri June 20, 2011 at 2:01 am

Never ask a creative writer silly captcha questions like, “Is fire hot or cold?” That’s just…asking for trouble.

Anyway… :)

When I use a search engine, I do not WANT the “human touch.” That should come from the pages that are indexed, and I have felt a bit betrayed ever since search engines started accepting payment for better placement, or more hits, or whatever. They are becoming less relevant to me as time goes by.

I want technical excellence and Boolean search logic from the robotic spiders that crawl our tangled human web.

For social interaction, I want a social tool – I want one that facilitates real, meaningful, human connections and interactions. I have been disappointed in Web 2.0′s insistence on relying on middle-school tactics like ratings and rumors, as if we cannot think for ourselves or express a coherent thought that cannot be summed up by one to five stars or a “Like” button.

I want connections that are easy to find, based on my search criteria – and easy to lose when they babble nothing but numbers and stats and self-aggrandizement, but add nothing new to the conversation. If someone’s happy talking to themself all day, I’m happy to let him.

Google, Facebook…another pretty face will come along, one day, and they will be largely forgotten.

Been to Alta Vista, lately?

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena June 20, 2011 at 11:09 am

Hi Holly,
The captcha is not for picking up your brain ;). Its just to test people if they know this much as well( seeing the cramming in school , people would believe fire is cold :).

I think you raised a very pertinent point here. Your demand from search engine and social networks are clear and distinct. While a search engine should provide us with unbiased data based on multiple “mathematical ” factors , social interactions should be driven by end user.
I think that is the perfect positioning and it is the place where Google is having a problem. According to me adding +1 to the pack is an illogical step.
Also facebook is having so much trouble addressing privacy issues that now it is suffering from declining user base. The likes buttons should also be made meaningful where you are forced to tell why do you like something(wherever possible).

Thanks for being a part of discussion and hope to see you back.
Best regards,
Ashvini

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Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing June 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm

It’s interesting, Ashvini, that we see this same old scenario that’s played out for centuries unfold in the internet age. I still remember just a decade ago when Yahoo and Microsoft were the kings of the online world, but now they’re quickly becoming irrelevant. Who would have thought that some geeky kid would launch The Facebook in his dorm room and have it be the powerhouse it is today. There will always be some kid out there with a dream we haven’t thought of that will become a roaring tiger poised to take on the latest internet giant.

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena June 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

Oh Yes. It is the same old story of war told in a new settings of internet world. Always the old order is challenged( and often replaced) by the the new order . I am very keen to see how it turns out.

Brad, thanks for commenting.

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Calli @ Wedding Favors June 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Hi Ashvini,

I recently read a news about Google’s failed attempt to partner with Facebook. I guess they’re already seeing the big threat from Facebook. Advertisers seem to be realizing the effectiveness of putting their ads on Facebook.

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Steve Shoemaker June 1, 2011 at 6:02 am

Ashvini

Great post and I love the military analogy.

And despite some of the other comments I like you don’t see this as a short term war.

Facebook may level off but go away that is a very strong statement.

Like you say the human touch it really couldn’t even be conceived until facebook came along and people are loving it.

As a matter of fact it’s not a novelty anymore as much as a mainstream medium for people to connect and the more mainstream it becomes look out Google!

I think it will get real interesting when facebook introduces it’s own search engine I believe that will happen someday soon and then we will see.

By the way Ashvini you write some great post this is not an affiliate link I would not do that but you should take advantage of this great blogging community I am apart of called TSA http://www.tsamastery.com/community.

Steve

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena June 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

Hi Steve,
Sorry for the late reply.
Today I heard the news about Eric Schimdt ruing the fact that Facebook did not partner with Google. So here Google made a great decision to make Facebook an ally but FB turned it down . Interesting isn’t it. Let us see how it goes .

I really appreciate your telling me about the community. I am going to join today and search for you there :)).
Hope to see you back.

Thanks and regards,
Ashvini

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Tech Blogger May 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Facebook can’t beat Google..

Facebook is temporary, Myspace is renovated, LinkedIn moving to high, Twitter is stable at 9th position, orkut lost fame, and slowly facebook also comes down.

Regards
Musthafa Ullal

Reply

Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Dear Mustafa,
Thanks for your comments and welcome to my blog.

I am reminded of the times when people used to say “Google” cannot beat Microsoft. Times have changed so much. It is too early to dismiss Facebook though Google is still like a startup.
Let us see what happens next .

Thanks and regards,
Ashvini

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lawmacs May 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Fighting for internet supremacy that is the idea but we will have to wait and see Ashvini and with advertsiing i think Google has a better chance as Google proves to be evil when it comes to adsense.

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Interesting angle, Gary. One needs to “evil” to win a war ;) . Thanks for your comment

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Hajra May 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I would agree on many points in this, though I am a personal fan of both I think they both should be using their strengths rather than pitching against each other. Facebook is slowly dominating many of realms it still remains primarily as a social networking tool. But then, to each its own!

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi Hajra,
Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. What you have said is so true. They need to work on their own strengths.
However the main contention area is the ad revenue which will witness more fight in the years to come.

Best regards,
Ashvini

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Daniel M. Wood May 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I think they are 2 different beasts though.
The battle isn’t for the users, whenever we need information we search on google, whenever we want to talk to our friends we (use the phone or meet them) use facebook.

But the battle is for the advertisers. Like you said facebook is a lot easier to understand and set up.
Google takes skill, knowledge and a lot more work.
But once you learn google they have more traffic and a very sofisticated algorithm that rewards the persistant.

I don’t know who will win, but it is like a dragon fighting a titan.

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
I agree with what you have said. The battle is tough and it is going take a lot of twists and turns before winner is decided. One more outcome could be that they never cross each other paths or develop new ways of revenue making. Let us enjoy the battle of two giants.

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Emily Binder June 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm

@Daniel M. Wood: I agree: Facebook and Google are battling not over users, but advertisers. The two are not quite apples and oranges, since each is either trying to or has the potential to integrate what the other does best (search, social). Granted, Facebook will never rule search; Google however may catch up to social.

In the next 3-5 years, I predict Facebook will stop growing. It’s only natural that other players will come on the social scene to challenge Facebook. If you think about Facebook’s birth, it was new, fresh, and cool because it was for students, namely college students. It was exclusive: you had to have a .edu email address. When those students’ parents and teachers started joining, when they graduated college and found their coworkers friending them, the network changed. The crowd may demand a new cool kids’ club when Facebook gets too saturated with the general.

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Nicola Deiana May 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I agree with many point bro, anyway I have to make some consideration. I often hear “I’m off from fb for 1, 2, or more days” more often than first. Also, I often see many of my fb friends profile that are not updated for many days. Also there’s need to consider the spam factor which fb is full. These can be all important signal that make see a change of trend by users and that could lead a declining interest over facebook.

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Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Hey Nicola,
Thanks for your perspective. I feel that even facebook is making a lot of mistakes when it comes to doing business and I agree with you. Probably me next post is about weaknesses of facebook which other competitor can use :)

Reply

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