31 03 2011

The digital world war between Facebook and Google just escalated again. The duo has been firing nuclear warheads at each other for some time now, but most recently FB has been making inroads in the battle for supremacy. All that’s needed is for FB to master search, or Google to figure out social. Whoever gets there first will rule the world.

Google’s introduction yesterday of +1 represents yet another attempt to crack the social egg (Google Wave and Google Buzz being earlier failed efforts). It’s Google’s answer to the ubiquitous Facebook Like button, which now appears on over 2 million sites.

The Like button allows users to instantly show their affectations toward a site, as well as share on their Wall. +1 works from a slightly different angle, though, being linked primarily to search, and to a lesser extent, actual sites.

Here’s how it works. Google users who opt-in to the service (you must be logged in first to your Google account), can go here to activate the feature. All subsequent search results will feature a small +1 icon beside the text result (not to mention the ads). If you really like the result, simply click to icon to add it to your profile.

And you will forever be linked to that web content.

Google also plans to start offering the +1 icon to individual sites, much like the FB Like button. Over time, your profile will yield a rich harvest of content you deem relevant.

Whoa, pardner! You just said something important there. Yes, your profile will be loaded with your likes (hmmm…too bad they don’t have a -1 button, just like FB could use a Dislike).

And therein lies the value of +1 to Google: while they already track searches (and click-throughs) from your searches, adding that extra layer of affinity reveals something about you. What’s in it for us? Not a whole lot, other than knowing your Google Profile is slowly beginning to reflect more of you.

Heck, I forgot I even had a Google Profile.

Google is betting that we will see the social value in this, and will happily be willing to demonstrate our good taste, prescience and general know-it-allness by merrily clicking +1 every time we see something we like. Rather than this showing up on the social graph dominated by FB, it will instead appear in Google’s competing universe. When others get a search result we have already added, they can see that we have done so. And Google has even better data about us from which it can use to sell more targeted advertising.

It’s a calculated move, and maybe even one of slight desperation, but Google needs to get into the social game. It is terribly late to the party, but not for lack of knocking on doors. Too bad they were banging on the wrong ones. Google is betting that search is still more important to us at the end of the day, and it is from that platform we will want to socialize.

And Facebook, of course, argues it is from the social graph from which we want to search.

It’s an interesting battle, and the perspectives are 180-opposites. Truthfully, both companies will probably thrive and last long into the future doing what they do best, but the battle is for our eyeballs. Because eyeballs attract advertisers. And advertisers mean revenue. Lots of it.

Go ahead and Like that. Or +1 it. Either way, it’s a result that is as certain as the sun rising in the east. And our lives becoming just a little more transparent. Is that a bullseye I see on your forehead?

Dr “Ready. Aim. Fire!” Gerlich



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: