Facebook Versus Google

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I recently read an interesting article by Alex Salkever and Sean Parker. I have added my commentary below their article.

When I read his article he discussed how Facebook could actually hurt Google. He and a tech entrepreneur by the name of Sean Parker believe, in short that businesses that connect people are worth more than businesses that collect data.  Facebook will effectively connect people whereas Google will not.

One of his supporting reasons about Facebook is that a search is increasingly a social act. When he and his wife and were searching for a new pediatrician, they did a Google search and a Facebook inquiry. Google brought up a bunch of links on sites of varying quality that purported to rank physicians. His Facebook query got him some excellent recommendations from people he knew. He was more comfortable with Facebook’s suggestions, because they came from people he knew. A Google search gave no guarantee of whether the information is current, nor of the motivations behind the strangers who provide it.

He believe for the first time, social media has made it convenient to tap the collective wisdom of your crowd, and people who know your crowd, to get recommendations for just about anything. Sure, you could blast friends with an email for advice in the past, but no one would dream of constantly bombarding lesser-known acquaintances for such information. By tapping into this new and powerful form of search, Facebook can also tear off a significant chunk of the value of the act of searching. Past wisdom was that people on Facebook weren’t receptive to ads. When he was looking for a pediatrician, he might’ve bitten on an ad for local practitioners. In searching both Google and Facebook, the latter became more relevant, so he spent less time conducting research on Google. He felt more comfortable that my own network would help me find the right information.

None of this means Google will completely suffer as Alex says.  He often disagrees with the answers he gets back from my social search. And the act of indexing the Internet is hugely valuable for providing a baseline of information. Google beats Facebook in many respects: Google (and other search engines) are insanely valuable for mapping and plotting directions among almost any locations.

And Google clearly gets the social web; Google Wave puts the company squarely into a form of social networking and, by extension, social search. Google is also quietly building up social tools to overlay on top of its search engine. Google has access to millions of desktops using its software toolbar: a potential Trojan horse for a broader social network play. So don’t write Google off.

Nevertheless, Parker’s presentation is compelling and seems to mirror key changes in how people are using and perceiving the Internet. If I go a day without using Google, it doesn’t bother me much. But I can’t go a day without Facebook: the social connections keep me tuned in.

With my eyeballs and my attention come opportunities to make money. Connection, not collection, is the value generator. I will keep using Google a lot to search for information — it’s a powerful and useful tool — but increasingly, it takes a backseat to social media and the wisdom of crowds.

I agree with the value of Social Networking applications such as Facebook as does the authors from the column above and it the importance to marketing. If I am looking for a real estate professional I have always been inclined to get the recommendations from friends versus a list on Google.

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4 thoughts on “Facebook Versus Google

  1. These theories pop up constantly. Last week I read that Baidu would outpace Google and that Chinese would be the world language. I read other theories that Yahoo would eventually catch up with google. All dreams. As much as I like facebook my money is on google. Google also makes money whereas facebook makes little.

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  2. Facebook works great if you have a large network in the area you are looking. It seems to not work as well for relocation or people who have small networks.

    Google serves a huge need and hopefully with Google Caffeine much needed changes will take place.

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  3. Chris:

    That’s what I was thinking: how does Facebook help someone moving across the country?

    Also, how does Facebook help you find information, or research a subject, or find a manual for an old widget, lots of things?

    They site the ONE example where Facebook just might help someone, that’s it.

    I’m not a Facebook hater but do “tire” of the FB and Twitter taking over theories.

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  4. I think it comes to this. Both have their place. Google will always be a giant and if you are looking for relocation information or real estate in Las Vegas, Google will certainly take it hands down. Facebook serves the community. The harder thing about FB is having the right kind of friends. If I am looking for property in Vegas and I have 900 friends and none of them live near Vegas or ever traveled to Vegas what good does it do. BUT by building loyal FB friends you can certainly get impact in the form of referrals. Hey I am looking for a home in Vegas and you pick up on that OR you post articles on FB about your market area and someone picks up on that. I tend to stick with the old saying; “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, both will drive business and Google will always be the giant it is.

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