Is this Google’s weapon to challenge Facebook?

By: January 11, 2012
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When Google launched its latest social network Google+, it received a mixed response – some thought it was okay, some hated it. Indeed, many ‘seasoned’ social media professionals were quick to dismiss it straight away and say it was too little, too late and Facebook owned the social networking world. Period. However, after many Facebook face lifts and overhauls and the rise of Twitter, Google+ is still growing.
When Google launched Gmail, it too received a very tepid welcome from the digital community. Now look at it. And what about Google’s Chrome browser? When it launched people were skeptical, why did the world need another browser. Weren’t Firefox and Safari and Internet Explorer doing a good enough job? Now look at it.
Dismissing Google+ is silly for many reasons. Firstly, it’s a Google product and one than continues to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in support and development. Secondly, Google is very good at launching a service, getting a muted response, and then building that service into a world-beater over time.
The latest development that should worry execs at Facebook and Twitter is a weapon called ‘Search Plus Your World’. Google is banking on the fact that many people like personalised search results: “Every day, there are hundreds of millions of searches for people. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the person you’re looking for. Once you do find him or her, there’s no quick way for you to actually interact. Starting today, you’ll have meaningful ways to connect with people instantly, right from the search results,” says the firm on its blog.
Why would Facebook be concerned about this? Well, since personalised content from Google+ is included in searches but not content from Facebook and Twitter, Google is loudly prompting people to switch over to Google+.
What’s more, it puts Facebook and Twitter in a very difficult position. Google says it will include content from Facebook and Twitter in its searches but they won’t allow Google to do so. If they allow their content to be included in Google searches, Google will make money from their content. If they don’t allow this, Google will continue to promote personalised search information from Google+, making it a very viable alternative to both Facebook and Twitter for people (and brands) who regularly use social networks.
Watch this space.

Read more: Twitter calls Google’s update ‘bad for the internet’.