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June 10, 2010

Can Google Become the Next Facebook?

Credit: Matt Harnack / Facebook
Credit: Matt Harnack / Facebook

Is it just me but didn’t Google recently put everything on its main homepage except for Google Buzz? What’s up with that? For heaven’s sake, they even put the PacMan game in their logo for two days running… you would think some of the brightest minds on the planet would have figured out by now if Google truly wants to compete on the new memeyouyou web, they simply have to fully integrate all their programs into one homepage or at least place Buzz right there along side the Gmail button.

Google Buzz has all the ingredients to finally make Google your one-stop center on the web. It can be THE place for sharing not just your conversations but photos, videos, and everything else. Will it live up to its full potential and become a true Facebook killer?

The main reason Facebook is such a threat to Google is not because of the massive amount of users it has, but the amount of time those users stay on Facebook. If you just look at the Alexa comparison alone, Facebook users spend over 30 minutes on the site, which is triple the time users stay on Google. Facebook also beats Google in the bounce rate and page views per user. Could all the recent changes to their SERPs be, not only Google’s answer to the upcoming Bing/Yahoo marriage, but a strong way of presenting a real challenge to Facebook’s overwhelming stats.

Web users are lazy and they want a one-stop solution to meet all their needs. They want to connect with friends and family, they want to broadcast to the world, they want to search for something to buy, they want to be entertained… iGoogle should be that solution/center but I don’t believe it quite passes the test because there is still no Google Buzz?

The main problem with Google is that it has no well-defined center which users could call their own. Perhaps I am reading this wrong, but have Google users fully bonded with iGoogle? Putting the privacy issues aside, I don’t think they have embraced it in the same way web users have embraced their Facebook. What is missing are all the elements that are present in Google Buzz, but again we seem to have two disjointed programs rather than one solid rallying point.

For many web users, Facebook is the starting point of their web day… in many cases, it is probably the only place they go on the web religiously each day. Why? Because all their friends/family are on there and they don’t want to miss out on any news or gossip. Not checking your Facebook page has become the ultimate faux pas of this new social media etiquette.

No one is going defeat or compete with Facebook you say?

Not so fast! Even empires come and go; a web site is even more fickle, especially if something more convenient comes along. Does anyone remember MySpace which is still a very popular site but no longer has the numbers it once had. Facebook or even Google could suffer the same fate if something better comes along.

Google’s main business is online search. It is its bread and butter, which may have blinded those in charge from seeing the bigger picture. The bigger payday.

Google owns so many popular sites within the top 20 including YouTube and Blogger… if only they could better connect all their interests into one SuperSite or one SuperDevice for those thinking within the box. Online search can still be the main course, but you need to corral all of these different users into one starting point or center with a couple of Billion users logging in each morning to start their web day. Just imagine the ad revenue potential that would generate for the big G.

Impossible you say, but not really, all the ingredients are there to form this SuperSite but it needs one big bang to get it going, to create a center of the web universe, which will be Google.

Whenever I think about Google, I am reminded of a class 5 Hurricane with all these popular sites and programs swirling around it like mad, but there is no eye to this hurricane, at least not yet. Google needs a solid center to draw everything into focus and get everyone at the same starting point. Whether it is the Google search page, Google Buzz, Google Profiles, Gmail or iGoogle… but it all needs to be pulled together if Google wants to truly compete with Facebook for all the marbles.


All opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author who has been following Google since it was a mere BackRub. He is also a full time search engine marketer with many
sites: internet marketing tools or try here free marketing courses.

4 Responses to “Can Google Become the Next Facebook?

    avatar Tony Zelinko says:

    Google has the potential to steal Facebook users, but content and even functionality won’t move the 2-ton Elephant.
    You see users or people are inherently comfortable creatures. If you can provide features and a comfortable experience it would be hard for most of them to leave. You essentially have a customer for life.
    It’s the same reasoning Insurance companies use. Once you get a customer it’s yours to lose.

    It would take a complete breach or security breakdown before the majority of the people will jump ship from Facebook. Even if that happened many of them would dismiss it and go about their comfortable routine.

    If Google structured all their features and then convinced the user it’s a comfortable experience when they are there. Only then is when Google has a chance to “Steal the Facebook Users”.
    Read more of my ramblings
    http://www.bontemedical.com/blog

    avatar Wood Flute Music says:

    Interesting article Titus. Google seems to take a proactive approach to stay ahead.

    avatar Paul Viau says:

    I’ve stayed off Google Buzz till today. I read this article and things finally clicked! The pieces fell and things finally made sense.

    Google Buzz could become Huge! With such partners as Youtube and Bloggger
    I really can’t go wrong. I’m in!

    avatar mRoc says:

    I totally agree. However, one more thing to ad – APPEARANCE!!!

    Google is such a useful … EVERYTHING … I have my clients on there for emails and business doc sharing and YouTube and Blogger and I make use of plugins and its awesome but it TOTALLY fails on appearance. It’s fine that it works efficiently but I’m wondering how long its going to be before Google decides to spend some money on some web designers and make things look “fresh”, I mean something attractive that will make people say oooooooooh, aaaahhhhhhh. Seriously! how long will it take for them to allow you to make custom signatures for each of your email accounts?? is it really THAT hard to make it work that way?

    If they pull everything together with a nice GUI, like Facebook – they’ll totally dominate.

    I love Google … the company and the way they work.

    that’s my 2 cents.

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