Facebook tries to box in Google+ as so five years ago

Facebook tries to box in Google+ as so five years ago

Summary: If you listened closely enough to Facebook's rollout of video chat with Skype you would quickly surmise the subtext to the powwow: Google+ is so five years ago.

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If you listened closely enough to Facebook's rollout of video chat with Skype to the press you would quickly surmise the subtext to the powwow. The theme: Social networking is becoming about quality experiences and being a platform. In other words, the user land grab was so five years ago. Therefore, Google+ is so five years ago.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the unveiling of the Skype partnership with a bit of a lecture on social networking. Social networking is at a crossroads in its evolution. "There's a clear arc, where the world generally believes it is going to be everywhere," said Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg showed some nifty slides on how Facebook was enabling connections between its 750 million users.

At some point, everyone on the planet will be connected to a social network. The trend over the next five years will be about building on top of this social network, according to Zuckerberg. Best in class music, gaming, search and communication services will be built on top of social infrastructure. These services will be inherently social.

Notice what Zuckerberg did here. First, he notes the land grab is over. Subtext: Just give up Google. Then, he talks services on top of a social graph. Exhibit A: Zynga. Exhibit B: Skype. And then he downplays 750 million users as a hedge just in case Facebook growth slows and Google+ makes some headway. Note that Facebook growth is already slowing in developed markets.

The general theme is that Facebook rivals will be stuck in the amassing users stage. While rivals are trying to grab users, Facebook will be onto the next big thing: Being a social app platform.

It's a worthwhile strategy for Facebook, but there are a few flaws to the premise. For starters, Google has billions of users and Google+ is the real deal. I've been on Google+ for roughly a week and it's the most credible social effort from the company by far. I never understood Wave and was turned off by Google Buzz in minutes. Google+ is actually keeping me interested and the mobile integration with Android is stellar. Granted, some of this may be Google+'s approach to friends---it's easy to categorize them into various Circles. For someone who has a mess of a Facebook account and no patience to fix it, Google+ represents a handy do-over.

What's unclear is whether it's really game over in Facebook's favor. Google's angle into Google+ is Gmail. You see your account and there's a little box of notifications. That integration keeps you on Google properties longer---probably the real goal anyway. Google photos and other properties are also nicely integrated with the search giant's social service. When Google+ opens to the public it will grab a lot of users. Here's what Google has to work with to bolster Google+ according to comScore data:

  • 222 million unique visitors to Gmail globally;
  • A 38 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers---another 28.9 million people---via Android, which is integrated with Google+;
  • 180 million unique visitors a month to Google properties in the U.S.
  • Toss in users of services like the soon-to-be-renamed Picasa and Blogger and Google+ integration abounds.

Add it up and Google can go through the social land grab phase very quickly. The company won't land 750 million users overnight, but 150 million won't be all that surprising. The big question is whether Google+ retains active users and bolsters sharing on its network. The interface is there, but others have noted that it's unclear whether folks will simply jump from Facebook.

Zuckerberg's job: Give customers a reason to stick with Facebook over the long haul. Over the next five years, Facebook has to continue to acquire users, give them social applications that delight and increase usage as a platform. Google is already a platform in many areas, but has to connect the social dots. If Facebook can box in Google it will have a nice head start on the next five years. Consider Facebook's strategy to be a nice mix of offense and defense.

Related Facebook:

Related Google+:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google

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  • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

    The same factors that you cite for Google+ working (220 mil email users, 180 million users, Android, etc., all existed for Wave and Buzz. Yes, they can be leveraged but lets not overplay them.

    Facebook + Skype + Hotmail + XBox + WP7 vs. Google+ + Gmail + Android.

    I'd prolly put my money on the FB/Windows combo.
    retnep
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      @retnep
      Don't sell out to the giant.
      root12
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      @retnep I never liked Facebook (always felt like a toy), I couldn't care less for Skype. I'm in Canada and here we can't get a Skype number, so it's of no real use. I got sick of Hotmail years ago when I always got more spam than a spam canning factory. As for xbox, it's game console and that's all I use it for.

      As for WP7, before the Nokia thing I knew it wasn't going to gain any traction, and it still hasn't. It'll be interesting to see what happens once Nokia starts launching their phones.
      cbstryker
      • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

        @cbstryker Stop visiting porn sites and you won't be getting tons of spam you deluded idiot. Hotmail is not only far bigger than Gmail, it's also better.
        JoeHTH
      • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

        @cbstryker
        I'm in Canada. Always been in Canada. I have no comment on Facebook beyond the fact its over hyped, but it seems to be doing pretty well at what it claims to do but needs improvement.

        Again, I'm not a Skype expert but have used it several times for video conferencing with people in the U.S.

        Been a Hotmail user since 2000. I have an email account with every major email service and the rest have always been clunky and always at least a touch less intuitive or feature lacking and I use them still, and that where the spam goes. Hotmail is the only serious email service as far as I'm concerned.

        Given the rest of your outlook, I find it pointless to comment about your opinions on WP7. Its pointless because its become very very clear that WP7 is a throw away as nothing more then a doorstop placeholder for the Windows name in the smartphone market. Its a gamble MS was forced into by misreading the game changing effect touch computing was going to have particularly in the smartphone market. WP7 was not a real response to the new shape of the market and as such anyone who still is trying to claim it was is delusional, and that include MS if you can find a current claim by them that WP7 is a competitive operating system for touch smartphone.

        Just wait until Win8 and if they cant show some a$$ kicking performance with that, they had best bow out completely or in the alternative bow out long enough to resurface with a competitive advanced and dynamic mobile OS.
        Cayble
      • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

        @joeHTH lol :))
        vivianvein
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      Most people have several email accounts. One for junk and one for the "real" thing. The same will happen with social networks. Facebook will be the junk profile and the important things people will do with Google+.
      hengels
  • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

    It's just a matter of time, Google will win
    shellcodes_coder
    • That time will be Facebook's second 10K filing.

      @shellcodes_coder Google is printing money from "leveraging" their current user base. Anything else/beyond is just more fodder for "the algorithm." Despite 750 million active users I don't see FB making the money off advertising that Google has. Of course I could be wrong, but until we see some quarterly and annual numbers from FB no one knows for sure. Of course [i]that[/i] won't be until [b]after[/b] Facebook goes public in 2012, so the bloggers will have plenty to write about until then.
      matthew_maurice
      • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

        @matthew_maurice LOL! If Google is printing money, what is Microsoft and Apple doing when they make far more revenue and far more profit than Google. They will crush Google like the scummy little worm they are.
        JoeHTH
      • I'm no Goggle fan, but you're clearly delusional.

        @JoeHTH Apple is in a totally different business, despite their boutique iAds shop, and Microsoft has lost more money on it's online business than most companies can hope to [i]ever[/i] make. Google isn't overly worried about either of them. Facebook makes it nervous, and surely the Zuckster annoys the Hell out of Pagey & Brin. But I think they both clearly feel in charge of their company's destiny.
        matthew_maurice
  • two turkeys don't make and eagle!

    facebook + skype( a M$ lame property) have no chance against the innovation coming from google!
    Zuckerberg & Ballmer start your copiers!
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      @Linux Geek

      What innovation....Wave, Buzz, Gears...Google+ = 10 year beta, no thanks. AGF!!!
      hopp64
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      @Linux Geek The only innovation that ever came from google is their original search engine (and even that is debatable). All other products are just copies from other companies:
      Hotmail --> Gmail
      MS Office --> Google Docs
      iPhone --> Android
      Mappy (and others) --> Google Maps
      Facebook --> Google+
      etc...
      Point is, when they see some succes in a certain area they just wait for a while, see what the users like/dislike about the product and then implement their own version with the wanted enhancements. This is offcourse a clever business model and it delivers great products. But to call it innovative?
      belli_bettens@...
      • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

        @belli_bettens@... actually, most features implemented in Google Sites (and other Google Apps) are copied from Microsoft Sharepoint, etc.
        sandeep.splash
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      @Linux Geek
      To quote Elop, 'two bicycle makers from Dayton Ohio once decided to fly'. Give them a chance & let's see. Anyway, it's always for the better of us consumers.
      I just dont understand, why you Linux folks are such great Google supporters. They dont even contribute the code from Android back in time.
      mm71
      • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

        @mm71, the answer is simple: Google is NOT evil.
        hengels
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      @Linux Geek

      Do you mean all the innovation that now allows Microsoft to collect patent fees from Google?$ OEMs?

      Google?$ strategy = (Copy everyone else?s innovation) + (give it away for free) + (Collect user?s data for $) + (Advertisement)
      NeoZon@...
  • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

    Doesn't matter. I'm not on FB and I won't get a Google+ account despite me liking what I have heard so far.
    Bates_
    • RE: Facebook tries to box in Google as so five years ago

      @Bates_ Exactly...there is absolutely no need for FB in people's lifes. Mr FB CEO should always remind people the the company he runs is based on an idea he stole from two people who hired him to do work for them. How can he tout social anything where everything he is selling is based on theft?
      mikies