A Google/Facebook War Seems Inevitable
Facebook is closing in on a full one billion users, making it the King of All Social Media, but Google has not been letting up when it comes to new users. Some estimates put their user number at nearly a half billion by this time next year, making it the second biggest social media service n the world.
This makes a battle between the two social media behemoths, whether or not you believe they actually serve the same purpose for users.
I have said before that I felt Google+ was a better tool for people who already regularly use Google tools like Blogger, Docs, YouTube or even search. This is what has led to their continued increase in Google+ users. If you have a Gmail account, or any account with a Google service, you already have a Google+ account. At some point you will likely want to use it. That only makes sense. If you like what you find there then you’ll likely be back for more. If you don’t, you won’t.
Facebook, on the other hand, has made a business of social media. It has added a great deal of third party processes and services, meaning you can get more out their social media network at this point than you can from Google+. Today, if you want the easiest-to-use social media network that reaches the greatest number of users globally, then you naturally reach for Facebook. But given its sheer volume of potential users, and an easy trail to follow, already blazed by Facebook, Google could make a serious run for dominance.
I am still not convinced this is their plan or their goal. Consider their launch foibles: They initially forced new members to only use their actual names. Then, there was no room for businesses on their network. Even when their new Business Pages were eventually rolled out they were severely lacking in features. This tells me Google doesn’t care as much about being a Facebook clone as they do about doing things their own way.
Whether or not Google is planning on directly competing with Facebook, a battle does seem nearly unavoidable. Eventually users are going to choose to narrow their social media interaction to the niche which fits them best. At that point we might just see Facebook user numbers declining, instead of increasing. But that day seems far off, for now.
While most analysts think Facebook retained its wide edge this year, most agree that the battle is likely to heat up further in 2012. And that means users of both Facebook and Google+ should expect a lot of new features and more integration with third party products.
“This is a fight for survival for Facebook — and for relevancy for Google,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. What happens in 2012, he added, “will make the difference between whether there is a Facebook by the end of the decade and whether Google can become truly relevant outside of search.”
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