Google Plus: Why Google must fall

Google Plus: Why Google must fall

Summary: This is not about 'Google going social.' The company has the potential to become something that is at the heart of enterprise. Everything else is just happy talk.

TOPICS: Google

Google Plus, Google's idea of a social network is in highly controlled beta (aka 'Field Test') at the moment. Very few people have had their paws on it but Marshall Kirkpatrick over at ReadRightWeb invested a whole night trawling through the features. He emerges impressed:

This is a really big deal, a super ambitious effort involving scores of engineers over months of near total secrecy. (Though some helpful sources and I scooped the core Circles part of all this three months ago.) The service is really, really well done. Will it be good enough? I have no idea, but I have felt drawn to keep using it all night long.

OK - so Google's off to a good start. I was more interested in last evening's stream of consciousness coming from John Furrier of Silicon Angle who says he's been following Google for more than a decade, loves the company but critically important to this discussion says:

Google has the Oracle long do you hold on to your money making "declining" franchise before killing your own to keep a future

Furrier argues (among other things and in no particular order - all via his Tweetsream)

what just happened on twitter is why search is dying just shared a link with me that was relevant, perfect context, and timing

Facebook is a threat to Google's search franchise which is why Google has to run with new paradigm; at risk - billions of dollars

Google is realizing that their incumbent user experience is getting worse everyday..the sooner they cannibalize their old product the better

more people are relying less on google as they "discover" content from other sources - search engines are changing so is google

people don't get me wrong I'm a Google fan but Google is out to lunch on anything social and human oriented

I remember years ago Paul Strassmann talking about the success of Google but caveatting that there is nothing so unique about Google that its business model is invulnerable. If you've heard Strassmann, are a lover of history and facts garnered over many decades then you also know that Strassmann is not a sensationalist but highly rational and engaging human being. At least that's my view. There's another truism - all empires fall, eventually.

And while technology can and often does provide the means to establish what at times seems an unassailable fortress, somewhere along the way, the foundations of the empire always crumble. It is that knowledge (which you can check for yourself by going back to any and all of the great empires) that informs my view that Furrier is right and that despite its mountain of cash, Google will fall.

What is different today is that Internet speed is accelerating both the growth and then destruction  of these empires. I have recently speculated idly that 40 years seems to be about the tipping point, using SAP and Oracle as examples. Google is a little different as it was born in a different age and appears to be acquiring those 'incumbent' characteristics far quicker than either Oracle or SAP. It's a sign of the time. That also means I am not convinced that Facebook is the inevitable beneficiary.

But what the heck does this have to do with enterprise?

A number of my colleagues are of the opinion that the dominant forces in the enterprise software space of tomorrow do not lie with the usual suspects of SAP, Oracle, IBM, Infor and the rest. It fits well with the 40 year theory. I'm not even sure that we know who that company will be though I am having a tentative bet on Workday.

As I listen to the many voices continuing to bellow the need for enterprise to be more social, whatever that's supposed to mean, I can't help but notice that not one of them and I mean NOT ONE, has for one minute thought through the deep needs of enterprise to continue transacting for goods and services and how the social mantra is mediated across those needs and systems.

Those systems are not going away until either, they are fully automated or, we invent a viable alternative to Pacioli. Try as I might, I cannot see either scenario happening in my lifetime although I am guessing we'll get to the former before the latter.

On the other hand, signs are emerging that at least some are starting to listen to what it means although I find that conversation to be somewhat shallow.

That is why companies like Appirio, with its emphasis on integrating Google, Workday and Salesforce, represent the front line troops in offering what I believe is an intermediate waypoint.

It is why TIBCO will be the kingmaker in this new battle for the hearts and minds of enterprise decision makers.

It is also why Google, for all its power, has to get serious about Circles (plus a slew of other assets) AND solve the never ending problem of privacy in an open and transparent manner. If it does that, then it shifts track and moves to a road that recognises that human intervention can very usefully act as what Sameer Patel calls the 'enterprise middleware of the future' between man and machine and which Furrier alludes to in reference to search via Twitter as a social network. If Google does all those things (and especially focuses on mobile,) then it does not survive. It does as Furrier suggests. It cannibalizes and reinvents. Just like IBM had to when staring disaster in the face in the early 1990s.

That's where opinion is going to polarize. This is not about 'Google going social' but realizing that it holds in its hands the potential to become something that is at the heart of enterprise, the value that can deliver and the massive revenue opportunity that is staring it in the face. Everything else is just happy talk.

Image courtesy of XKCD via RWW

Topic: Google

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It would be interesting if Facebook would open its mail service and few ...

    ... other services which currently Google provides. If this would be possible and Facebook's services would work well, then it could be some threat to Google gradually.<br><br>Threat to Facebook from Google is not that serious since Facebook is much more than just handling mails (or even documents) -- it holds loads of all kinds of information, which people would not want to move to whatever else service even if it is better. The competing service has to have some drastic advantage, not just any advantage, to make people move.
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

      @DeRSSS facebook features are only available to lure the end user into using the platform, trolling your nonsense data and selling it to marketing firms is the entire plan. Google is a great search for IT folks for drivers, sdk and general info, but none of that ends up as a value to google, actually it is pure overhead. They want the simple user looking to buy a purse and hope to get ad dollars. Yapping on facebook just simply does not make sense to me, texting does the job and keeps the marketing away.
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

      +1 bro
      Ram U
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion


      Facebook's mailing service is pretty pathetic. Its only redeeming feature is that it's easier to find contacts than traditional mail.

      There is a web outside its socialising functions - this is where Google rules. The Bing search results in facebook are a half-hearted attempt at best.
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

      @DeRSSS will have to see how this will compare to Facebook

      <a href="">Garth Brooks tickets
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion


      Google Plus, <strong><a href="">learn violin online</a></strong> Google???s idea of a social network is in highly controlled beta (aka ???Field Test???) at the moment. Very few people have had their <strong><a href="">glaucoma eyes drops</a></strong> paws on it but Marshall Kirkpatrick over at ReadRightWeb invested a whole night trawling through the features.OK - so Google???s off to a good start.

      Yes indeed they have, and I'm sure they'll keep pushing it forward. I very much doubt <strong><a href="">bright eyes drops</a></strong> that they will fail, but hey, everything can happen, right?
    • RE: blakepedersen

      When it comes to simple tactile enjoyment of sound and interesting patterns there are no real comparison that can be made with the resonance of Irish names and their tonal music, interesting phonetic composition, unique construct of all kinds of consonants and rich history of Irish culture as it is represented in the actual construction the name in terms of lineage in the way that some of the names borrow from the actual mythology of the region which is actually much more complex than people often give it credit for.

      In Italy the name format is usually written as given name first then the surname. But in any cases, the surname is written before the surname.

      Finding a good job in Halifax has many benefits. Having a job is important because it helps us sustain our daily needs, pay for your rent, electricity, food and expenses of every day life.
  • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

    Facebook blows. You don't even own your own contacts and pictures! Go ahead, try to export them!
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

      @Droid101 FYI,
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

      Aw snap, Droid101. You've been surved!
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

  • Google The New Generation

    i think that Google+ will Rock..
    ofis mobilya
  • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

    Wow what a rambling post and yes we know you're in love with Tibbr which I agree is very impressive for enterprise deployments but once again you also need tight integration with the web data streams ( preferably with linked data and semantics ).
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

      @sardire linked data? semantics? Which planet are you on?
      • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

        @dahowlett being glib shows your ignorance on this subject matter so why waste my time trying to explain ;)

        Now back to your rambling post you completely missed this angle Google+ could be Google's latest enterprise weapon that Sharon Gaudin picked up on !
    • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

      @sardire for some reason ZDN isn't allowing me to respond to your replied comment. Heh ho.

      I know you have a thing about linked data and semantics so I'll refer you to what Martijn Linssen has to say on the topic: - Martijn looks at this stuff for a living in large enterprise and we've talked about these topics on many occasions. I'll leave it at that.

      On the point about Google's existing office like services, I assumed intelligent readers would get that. The point is to get people talking about the issues, not take pot shots.
      • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

        @dahowlett thx read Martijn's stuff and commented. I agree with you that Tibbr is very impressive for enterprise deployments as you've nicely outlined in your posts ( vs other SBS players who are pretty much 'similar' ) so was attempting to add some new perspective ( not pot shots ).
      • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion


        Dennis said something that was overlooked.

        Don't sit on the sidelines with googleplus
        jump in as an early adopter, use it and
        position your self to help others with it down the road- especially offline, local

        That's what I'll be doing and here's the how to part
  • RE: Google Plus - polarising opinion

    I don't see facebook social search replacing Google search any time in the near future. There are a lot of stuff I want to search that I don'tn want any of my friends to know about. And content discovery on facebook(mostly youtube crap) is different from a precise search when I need one. I'm not seeing any thing that facebook is offering that allows me to do that, if they did have social search, privacy concern is going to be an issue for a long time, even though no-privacy is eventually going to be a way of life. But in a very far future.