Just within the last two years Facebook overtook Myspace as the king of social networking. Myspace has been relegated by the technology and advertising community to the garbage heap of websites. Now has arrived what everyone knew would come, Google+, the newest best “social network” to compete in a crowded pack, dominated significantly by Facebook. Many people see that Facebook has a stranglehold on the social networking, and that nothing will take away its crown. I see completely the opposite that Google+ has already won, and within a year will easily take away any dominance that Facebook has, quickly sapping Facebook’s influence and value.
For the last few years, I’ve made the argument to friends and colleagues that Google should be buying Facebook, it was only a natural progression. Instead of selling to Google, Facebook felt that it was a long-lasting company that itself needed to buy other companies and become the next Google. In this, Facebook has made a complete miscalculation and they’ve already lost the war, barring some miracle — and here’s three reasons that I feel confident in my prediction:
1) Google has everything already Facebook has and more. While Facebook is attempting to buy or partner with companies like Microsoft, Google already have competitive features for almost everything Facebook wants. From mail, to video chat, to embedded search, these features are seamless within Google and in many cases superior. Now when you login to Google+ you are connected to all these features and will be able to use it as part of your social networking experience. If they don’t have it, rest assured they will get it.
2) Advertisers love Google. Despite Facebook’s enormous growth in advertising, Google is still the main source of advertising money. Google has known for a long time that everything is interconnected in interactive advertising and has been building and buying solutions that will connect with their Google+ technology. The universal login that Google+ will become, combined with mail, calendars and much more will provide targeting feature that no other network, no other behavior targeting company can even come close to duplicating. Pretty much, with Google+ turned on, most of what you do, from networking, to search, to mail, to surfing non Google websites will have you somehow connected eventually to their back advertising and targeting systems. Advertising prices will rise, Google’s income will double, and many other advertising solutions will have no way to compete, including Facebook.
3) Facebook cares too much about “social networking.” Social networking as a stand-alone solution is gone. With Google, everything will become on function of the internet. People have made for a while the argument that Facebook is really just another extension of the internet, and that “social networking” is nothing more than another word for what we all do on a daily basis – just made easier by software solutions. However, with Google+ all these interests, all of the networks and groups that we create will be more integrated into every other function of the internet. Remember that Google is often the first site, the main site that everyone uses on a daily basis to connect to everything else they want to know. Search will become a social tool and social networking will become a search mechanism. There will be no distinction perceived or in reality. When you are connected to the Internet, for most of us, you will always be connected to Google.
That last point really wraps up all the points together. Technologists have been claiming for a while that at some point the Internet will be more than just a destination on a computer or phone, but instead a part of everything we do. Microsoft knew this many years ago and has been trying unsuccessfully to have a universal login that will log you into everything. Even before that America Online (AOL) wanted to be the login to the internet, but never even came close to converting from an ISP to a destination. Facebook has been quickly addressing this, with integration into blogs, login for everything, but they still aren’t anywhere near the daily influence and reach of Google. That’s what Google has over Facebook, and what will make Google dominate the market. The pure integration potential of Google is just amazing. Since most users on the internet chose the easiest solution, whatever is put in their face (or the first page of Google), that is where they will all eventually go.
If Facebook doesn’t like it, they also have another reality to face: Google generates somewhere around 30-times as much revenue as Facebook and they can easily buy all the new users they need.