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Google vs Facebook  (View post)

David T [PersonRank 7]

Friday, October 12, 2007
15 years ago7,209 views

Very interesting about how Social networks are terrible platforms to advertise on, it's a convincing argument. I would agree with the logic of this argument, however on a small side issue the facebook groups are a good area for more related advertising.

Nevertheless, we've seen more recently that facebook is opening up and looking outwards. For example opening up the inbox so accounts can now send and receive messages to normal email accounts rather than just internal accounts. Couldn't they relatively easily develop a search engine to offer web search or work with Google or another search engine provider to integrate web search on their site?

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

[put at-character here]David T: Why would I want to log in to Facebook to search the web? The email thing makes sense, because these days a lot of my communication with friends gets routed through Facebook (inbox, wall messages, etc).

[put at-character here]Philipp: I think the pace at Google has really slowed down for a lot of groups. Remember 'release early, release often'? Not many groups at the G are doing that these days. Ninianne's project? How many years has that been going? The only teams doing regular releases are Reader, Geo, and the Mashup Editor.

It's a shame really, one of the things that made me really appreciate Google was the 'put it out there and see what people like' mentality, and I think the developers like(d) that too. Imagine if you're in Ninianne's team, you've got to stay there at least 2 years before anyone ever sees the work. I'm a developer, and that paradigm sucks. I'm not surprised people are moving to Facebook.

Happy [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Whilst I agree that Facebook is a very versatile tool, it's still never going to be a patch on

SQ89 [PersonRank 3]

15 years ago #

On the largest social network in Holland,, I think they handle advertising quite well. Users can tell Hyves what they think of the banners, and advertisers are challenged to create the best banner of the year. Some companies create fun gadgets with subtile references to themselves, that users want to put on their profile. Sometimes there are special partnerships, like when Axe had an 'bom chicka wah wah' advertisement on tv, users also could send eachother a 'bom chicka wah wah' emoticon through Hyves.

David T [PersonRank 7]

15 years ago #

Reto Meier you wouldn't want to login in to facebook just to search – that goes without saying.

Point is I have friends who live on facebook and have more a less ditched email for it. Facebook has so changed some peoples habits that instead of logging on their email, they log onto facebook. Facebook could potentially exploit the fact that people use Facebooks services by incorporating web search. Lets be honest, a search box in the corner of Facebook to search the web is hardly revolutionary, but thinking of the amount of traffic they have it would certainly get used.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

[put at-character here]David T: Interesting. I see the email connection because Facebook is all about communication, but I see your point. These days constructing a brand new search engine isn't cheap or easy, but you're right about them partnering with someone else. For a lot of people Facebook is becoming their internet portal.

Anonymous Joe [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

What's really fun is this Facebook job description. From

Software Engineer, Data

Facebook is seeking a Software Engineer to join the Data team. The ideal "candidate will dream about distributed systems for the parallel processing of massive quantities of data, be familiar with Hadoop/Pig/HBase and MapReduce/Sawzall/Bigtable, and frequently think to themselves"

MapReduce/Sawzall/Bigtable, hmm, who could they be trying to hire?

Natasha Robinson [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

I'd guess that FaceBook is making the majority of their rev from Sponsored Facebooks Groups as opposed to CPM... That doesn't seem like a "terrible way" to make money to me.

J. McNair [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

It is very simple. Google is now a Big Company. They have a Brand and an Infrastructure and Major Clients and a Revenue Stream and Shareholders many other things to deal with, so they have a hard time being nimble and clever. They are much less likely to set a small, clever group of developers aside and tell them to work on their "new cool thing they cooked up last week" now. Why? Because they need the developers to update the kernel patchset on the network image for 4000 new servers.

Running Google day-to-day probably consumes an enormous amount of resources, not to mention they seem to be trying to eat the internet :-). So their smart people are frustrated with "just running Google" instead of "making new cool things".

Facebook is a smallish company smart enough to realize that they need smart people, lots of them, yesterday. It has released a software platform and needs it maintained and enhanced.

Google is the biggest target whose image is a little less rosy than once it was in the minds of geeks. If Facebook is smarter still, it will also target Microsoft and Yahoo, who are also bursting with frustrated smart people. Yahoo is a more direct competitor and Microsoft has metric tonnes of research and software development expertise.

So yes, there is a brain drain, more of a steady trickle. And Google will have to look inward and find a better way to keep developers motivated and excited. How to do this? I don't know, they're smarter than I am, right? ;-)

Jon Kelly [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

It's funny to me that more people don't easily get the difference between Google and Facebook revenue potential. I started to write a long comment, but just wrote on our site instead:

On thing I didn't address in the post was the comparison of current-day Facebook to early-days Google (in terms of lack of revenue). At that point, there were other search engines who were getting fantastic monetization out of search (double-digit CPMs for banners), so it was clear that the traffic had value. I can't think of any large social networking site that has produced much more than $1 CPM for it's traffic yet. And, while behavioral targeting and exchanges will help drive up prices, there will always be an enormous gap between search and social media inventory value.

Veky [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

I tried to find what's so cool at facebook. I just couldn't.

First, you can't do practically anything, or _view_ practically anything, without registering. Please, facebook, let potential users see your site, or at least have a demo account. Not everybody is going to go through your inquisitive registration (see below) just to see how it looks.

The registration: in the Privacy policy, they say "You should have control over your personal information.". Oh, really? Is that why I have to give my _full_ name (and there is no username to choose, so I guess I log in with my real name), my _college_ email (OMG; so I can get spa^Wpromotional offers on my academic mail system too) and my birthday, _including the year_ (there's no "I'd rather not say" option)?

And after I get through all of that, I get a page asking me for my Gmail password (I mean, WT*? Auth for Web Apps isn't good enough? Not to mention that they are asking me to violate Gmail's TOS.). Ordinary HTTP page, not HTTPS. Might as well send it as an URL parameter. ;-P Privacy policy says: "When you enter sensitive information (such as credit card number or your password), we encrypt that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL)." What, my facebook password is more sensitive than my Google one? Dream on.

Facebook, please reconsider your decisions. Don't ask for heaps of personal information, without a possibility for opt-out, without first giving something to the user. And for heaven's sake, increase that font size. :-O

Jean-Marie Le Ray [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

Hi Philipp,

Till now I believed Microsoft and Facebook got an exclusive deal on ads, but I’ve just discovered Adsense running on Facebook, .
Am’I wrong or could you tell me something more on that?

Anonymous Googler [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

What's slowing down engineers at Google? Proving that your work won't fall over dead when you get millions of hits the first day, mostly. Many engineers like to whip stuff together quickly with mysql, php, ruby on rails, etc. which works great if you're off in the corner of the Internet somewhere, but anything that launches at Google these days ends up in a huge spotlight instantly (in parts thanks to blogs like this). Engineers at Google no longer have the luxury of starting small.

Facebook was able to get off the ground because they were able to start small. For better or worse, "starting small" is no longer an option at Google. Not so much because it's become a big company (though it has in some ways), but because it's surrounded by paparazzi.

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Anonymous Googler makes a good point. Google will eventually function like Microsoft (if it hasn't started so already) and red tape will grow!

fanboy [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

Anonymous Googler: part of the reason why there's so much attention to all new Google stuff might be that there are so few launches a year. If Google would launch a few applications per month, one new application would be less special so it would get less media attention. Then Google would be 'the company that releases hundreds of products and sees which ones will be succesful', instead of 'the company that releases three great, polished new products per year that everybody in the world should check out'.

me [PersonRank 8]

15 years ago #

Anonymous Googler: isn't this why you guys have invite only launches? You guys could just set up a labs section that require invites

Anonymous Googler [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I agree. I love the Google Labs idea. I wish we'd use it more.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

> For better or worse, "starting small" is no longer an option at
> Google. Not so much because it's become a big company
> (though it has in some ways), but because it's surrounded
> by paparazzi.

But there seem to be another option here (other than launching with invite-only and restricting the invites, which admittedly may still put the application in the spotlight big time): launch internally first... isn't that almost like the ultimate safe launching ground? You get 16,000 goodwilled Google employees testing you application for free. Of course, it's not a perfect sample group – as it's by far no average sampling group, much too many computer-savvy people – but it's still a good testing ground, no?

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp: It's a good theory, but doesn't really adress the scalability issues that come with getting plastered all over Digg, Blogoscoped, Techmeme, and Metafilter. Take the 'Shared Stuff' app – that hasn't even launched (where's the Google blog post?) but it likely got a couple million hits when it was discovered. It's hard to scale from 16k to 2mm, I mean it's an order of magnitude larger. And that's assuming every Googler hits this new app every day! Chances are they're less obsessive about Google releases than we are ;)

Still. I'd like to see more use of Labs and an expanded Trusted Tester program. Seems like the 'too many eyes' problem should be solvable.

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