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Google+ vs. Facebook War Overlooks Big Picture

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:45 PM EST     1813 Views
Author: Nickolay Lamm
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“The last hundred years have been defined by the mass media. In the next hundred years, information won't be just pushed out to people: It will be shared among the millions of connections people have.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Google is well aware that social networking will play a big role in future online activity, which is why it created Google+. By creating a social network, Google invited comparisons to it and Facebook. However, despite the two companies appearing to compete against one another, both are in two completely different fields: Facebook-social and Google-search.

Facebook has over 845 million active users and is expected to have 1 billion users before the end of this year. It is the second most visited site behind Google and its users spend, on average, 6 hours and 33 minutes minutes each month.

Google is the most visited site in the world and is the king of search, accounting for 64.86% all search traffic. According to Pew Internet, search engines remain popular: 73% of all Americans use search engines and 59% use it on any given day. So, although people spend about one third of their online time on Facebook, they still use search engines.

Google has hundreds of different products and services, including Google Voice, Google Docs, and GoogleApps, of which Google + is just one offering. In 2011, 95% of Google revenue came from advertising on its search engine. So, although Google+ only has 170 million users and its members spend only 3.3 minutes per month on the site, it’s no big deal because Google is a search company.

Last year, Facebook was awarded a patent for “curated search.” Despite its possible entrance into the search engine business, it’s incredibly hard to make one that rivals Google in size (Yahoo couldn’t do it after 15 years) and Bing only has 15.2% search engine market share. Furthermore, it is near impossible to match the Google brand that is synonymous with search.

The Facebook and Google+ comparisons make it seems as if Google is trying to play catch-up when it is merely experimenting with a medium that is not its core business. There is no reason to believe that the two online behemoths can’t co-exist, with each of them innovating in their own and, other, uncharted markets. And, who knows? Google+’s further integration into Google may make it rival Facebook one day.

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