Google+ aims at Facebook

Google + opening screen
Screenshot courtesy Google
First it was Friendster, then Myspace, then Facebook. Will Google+ be the Next Cool Social Networking site?

Google regards Facebook as a major competitor. Why? Facebook knows all about its users: who likes what, where they live, ages, who knows whom, etc. This, to Google, is gold: it’s precious marketing information, and Facebook has prevented Google from accessing it.

Reality check: Facebook’s users aren’t its customers. Facebook’s users’ data are its products, which it sells to advertisers, who are Facebook’s real customers.

Google is testing its new social networking site, Google+. There may be method to this madness. Despite Facebook’s popularity, many people (such as me) don’t use Facebook because of its many privacy problems. Many of these people (like me) already have a Google account, so signing on to Google+ would be very easy.

My guess is that most Facebook users will stay with Facebook in the near term, unless Google+’s privacy policy is light-years better — which it may be. Also, Google seems to be adding eye-candy to the user interface, which may attract Facebook users.

Supposedly, Google is paying close attention to Facebook’s privacy problems, and making users’ Google+ information private by default. Their privacy policy will be worth examining, since traditionally Google’s Terms Of Service (“TOS”) state that Google can do whatever it wishes with users’ data. You can ask to be part of the test:

With luck, Google+ will succeed where Google Buzz failed.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

5 thoughts on “Google+ aims at Facebook”

  1. I’m surprised that Google would develop it’s own site when MySpace was for sale — not that any of these companies have figured out how to turn a profit….

    Justin Timberlake Part of Group Buying MySpace. By RYAN NAKASHIMA AP Business Writer. LOS ANGELES June 30, 2011

    from the previous sale of MySpace:
    With the $580 million purchase of MySpace, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch is betting he can transform a free social network into a colossal marketing


  2. oops — forgot to include the price – News Corp sold MySpace for $35 million dollars (to the group including Timberlake) – $545 million less than the original $580 million purchase.

    Interestingly, there were some who valued MySpace in 2007 at about $12 BILLION! Yahoo apparently was considering purchasing it then, when MySpace was still larger than FaceBook.


  3. Here’s some comments that might be of interest to readers:

    When I got my Google+ invitation, I was already itching to shed my Facebook profile. I still feel that way, but I’m starting to realize something really surprising (at least for me): I don’t think Google is my Facebook stand-in. I think Google is far more than a measly “social network,” and that’s why some of my Facebook friends who are migrating over right now seem to be, as they say on the Internet, “doing it wrong.”


    1. That’s an interesting perspective. Tonight, on an NPR business show (sorry, I forget which one) I heard a pronouncement that Google is rolling out Google Plus very slowly, partly in an effort to avoid Facebook’s problems. According to this fellow, Google hopes to provide an environment that will be more business- and IT- friendly than Facebook. (I still hear from IT managers who filter all Facebook traffic from their corporate networks. One IT manager this week called Facebook “a cesspool”.)


  4. Slowly — not so much. According to this blog, + is already up to 18 million users.

    I found that blog while reading this Forbes article on FB user data & metrics:

    BTW, another site, My Yearbook, sold to investors yesterday — nice work if you can get it.

    In 2005, Catherine Cook and her brother David had an idea for a startup. The high schoolers flipped through a yearbook and wanted to make a digital version.

    The 15-and-16-year-olds got to work and created MyYearbook. In the 6-year span, the duo raised $17 million in financing, grew the site to 20 million users*, and generated 1.2 billion monthly pageviews.

    Today, a publicly-traded Latino social network, Quepasa, announced its $100 million acquisition of MyYearbook. The majority of the deal, $82 million, is Quepasa common stock. The other $18 million is cash.


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