Will Google Compete With Facebook? Er…It Already Is, Folks.

Last weekend the news was conjecture about Facebook doing web search, today, the news is conjecture about Google doing social networks. All of this has been sparked by two well known Valley guys opining on samesaid…Kevin Rose, CEO of Digg, tweeted that Google was working on a "Google Me"…

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Last weekend the news was conjecture about Facebook doing web search, today, the news is conjecture about Google doing social networks. All of this has been sparked by two well known Valley guys opining on samesaid…Kevin Rose, CEO of Digg, tweeted that Google was working on a “Google Me” social network (he since was “asked to take down his tweet” by someone…) and then a former Facebook employee answered a related question on his own Q&A service, Quora.   

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, folks. I certainly don’t find it the least bit surprising that Google is continuing its push into social – let’s not forget, the company recently launched Buzz, which qualifies as a major social network, already owns Orkut, which also qualifies, and has added social features to its core search service – including Google Profiles and social search functionalities.

Pulling these together into a seamless, useful, and coordinated product just makes sense. It’s to be expected. And it’s badly needed, because none of these disparate features or products have found their own footing.

The real question is whether Google has the corporate will to call a spade a spade, and acknowledge publicly that it’s game on with Facebook. Often companies attempt to pretend they’re not really in a competitor’s business. It’s rather hard to defend such a position now. I say, go for it, Google. If the product is good, the traction will be there.

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

10 thoughts on “Will Google Compete With Facebook? Er…It Already Is, Folks.”

  1. Two years ago, where did you go first when you had a question? Google!

    Where do you go now? More and more I find myself asking my friends on Facebook the kinds of things that I used to ask the computers who run Google.

    Today, if I can’t find my answer via my friend network on Facebook (sometimes I’m willing to wait a long time for a really good answer to a really tough question), I’ll fall back to Google as a last resort.

    I think this is a trend that will continue as “Page Rank” has less and less value in the world. The documents out on the web that my friends have marked as being important (“Liked”) are in most cases more relevant than documents that have been linked to by a bunch of random strangers.

    So I absolutely see Facebook going very hard after the search audience that Google currently dominates. They have the raw materials to offer a more relevant experience, and in the long run that’s all that matters in search, relevance.

  2. Well we can certainly see google as king in the past and future. Facebook may want to be careful what is said, they arent nearly close to googles standards. If you want something, you go to google, period.

  3. I see them competing in so far as they’re both in advertising, but the point raised by Mike Sommers doesn’t impress me much. Mike, you’re extrapolating from people having long tail questions answered on social networks – many of which are not commercial – that facebook can get into search. That’s a stretch, but even if it’s true, Google does fine on the short tail. Why would people change when it “ain’t broken”? (@John, your response would be interesting, too.)

  4. I’m not sure that a move for either Google or Facebook into each others bread and butter would be a great move. They represent (atleast in branding terms) different things and a move into each others domains would dilute the messages they put across!

  5. I rarely ask questions on facebook instead of using google. In my opinion, it is much faster to just google a question rather than waiting a few minutes or sometimes a whole day before receiving a valid reply on facebook. Even then, how would you know if the replies are factual? The answer: Google.

  6. The more you understand people and their intention when seeking information, the more you realize that search and social will coexist. So, the organization that is able to best integrate both will prevail. Why?
    Have you thought of the times when your Google search results are validated by your friends/network and vice versa?
    More and more, this is how search will happen – depending on your search intent – informational, transactional, navigational, public, or private.

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