We’re lining up Google and Facebook against each other. It looks like the match of our lifetime.
Facebook recently joined the ranks of high-profile tech companies that have gone public. While Facebook’s IPO failed to impress, the company still is a huge force to be reckoned with. Facebook is valued at nearly $105 billion, and it has a solid 900 million-plus members.
With its membership nearing the 1 billion mark, Facebook appears poised to take on the whole world. Or is it? Is Facebook really invincible? Can it topple the current king of the tech industry — Google?
Not likely . . . at least not in the foreseeable future.
Some web experts believe that Facebook lacks the appeal of Twitter, which has been instrumental in breaking some of the biggest news stories in recent history.
Some even argue that Facebook is going to end up like MySpace, which has entirely lost its appeal. You may recall that MySpace was once the king of the social media hill, after it stole the thunder from rival Friendster. Now MySpace has been reduced to nothing more than a virtual ghost town.
Lately, we have seen a growing number of people who complain about Facebook selling its members out. Some have sought refuge in Google+, now viewed by many as a worthy successor to Facebook.
Google is hell-bent on making social interactivity work on Google+. Although at one point the company denied that Google+ is a social network, for users it works, looks, and feels like one.
Regardless, Google’s command of the online advertising space is staggering, and Facebook wants a piece of that. Who will be the last man standing in this battle?
The cutthroat rivalry of social networks
Facebook has maintained a solid reputation with its status as the largest social network in the world. On the other hand, Google has amassed a huge follower base that is increasingly drawn to Google+ for its new approach to social networking. Quite simply, Google+ offers great features that Google+ users aren’t willing to give up.
Google+ is now home to nearly half a billion members, of whom 100 million were active users as of September 2012. It took Google+ just over a year to grow its user base to that substantial number. By comparison, it took Facebook many years to grow its user base to 900 million.
At this rate, Google+ could snatch the helm from Facebook in a matter of months.
While users can do a lot of things on Facebook, such as share and recommend content, upload and watch videos, post and share photos, etc., Google+ has some huge advantages over Facebook.
One advantage Google+ has over Facebook is its seamless integration of products and services that many of us had already been using fairly heavily, such as YouTube, Google Calendar, and Google Drive (formerly Google Docs).
Since Google+ integrates many of the tools that members already use, it’s much easier to aggregate content and collaborate with other people.
What I especially like about Google+ is Hangout, a cool video-conferencing feature that allows as many as 10 people to chat via video all at once. Hangout also allows users to watch a YouTube video simultaneously. How cool is that? Very cool indeed.
Right now, for those who desire some rest from the noise that’s plaguing Facebook, Google+ is an excellent alternative. Google+ is full of interesting images, videos, and content you won’t find on Facebook or other social networking sites.
The advantages of Google’s product lineup
Google did run into some trouble when they declared that user data will be shared across its products, but the company did a great job of providing a seamless user experience.
Whether you are using an Android tablet or an Android phone, you can tap into Google’s wide range of products seamlessly from YouTube, GTalk, Calendar, Google Play, Maps, to a host of other product lines. You can also sync all your favorite Google apps to a single device.
Personally, I don’t think I’d be able to do the things I do on a regular basis as productively without the apps from Google to which I’ve grown so accustomed.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not active on Facebook. I still visit the competition to this day, but only when I want to get in touch with friends and keep myself in the loop about what’s going on with them.
The competitive world of online advertising
Facebook is still enjoying a steady growth in number of users, so the odds are good it will surpass the one billion point fairly soon. And after its recent IPO, the company has a pile of cash at its disposal to fund more innovation.
Facebook’s got a great deal of resources that may enable it to beat Google in the mobile advertising arena, an area where Google is already playing well.
With regard to advertising, Facebook could one-up Google in several key areas, such as display ads. However, Google has already gotten a good head start in mobile ads, forcing Facebook to struggle to make a decent foray into this area.
Google is also keen on flexing its muscles to extend its might into social, an area where it has repeatedly failed in the past — with Google Wave and Google Buzz, for example.
But with Google+, Google seems to be doing things right this time around.
So Facebook is still the undisputed king of the social media hill, but the Google+ threat is real and looming. With Google’s vast resources in terms of cash gained from its extremely profitable advertising model, it could be only a matter of time before we see Google+ take the lead from Facebook.
What do you think? Who will be left standing, and receive the crown as the true social media giant in 2013 and beyond? Will we still see Facebook dominating the social space next year, or will Google+ finally stake its claim to unchallenged dominance of the Internet?
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