Google announces Social Web product – Twitter Killer Then Facebook Killer. As you know we cover the social web in depth here at SiliconAngle and this announcement was something we were watching. Why? Because many were wondering how Google would respond to Facebook and Twitter.
What’s impressive is how Google is thinking about this…. the are thinking different and more mainstream.
With more and more communication happening online, the social web has exploded as the primary way to share interesting stuff, tell the world what you’re up to in real-time and stay more connected to more people. In today’s world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it’s increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations.
Our belief is that organizing the social information on the web — finding relevance in the noise — has become a large-scale challenge, one that Google’s experience in organizing information can help solve. We’ve recently launched innovations like real-time search and Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step with the introduction of a new product, Google Buzz.
Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting. It’s built right into Gmail, so you don’t have to peck out an entirely new set of friends from scratch — it just works. If you think about it, there’s always been a big social network underlying Gmail.
We’re rolling out Buzz to all Gmail accounts over the next few days, so if you don’t see it in your account yet, check back soon. We also plan to make Google Buzz available to businesses and schools using Google Apps, with added features for sharing within organizations.
On your phone, Google Buzz is much more than just a small screen version of the desktop experience. Mobile devices add an important component to sharing: location. Posts tagged with geographical information have an extra dimension of context — the answer to the question “where were you when you shared this?” can communicate so much.
Two things jump out at me on this (I was not prebriefed so I can’t say I used it yet):
First Long Term Move Against Facebook
1) Google Buzz makes more sense for “normal people” verses the tech insiders. Email still is the best way to keep in touch with friends and colleagues. Yes, real time web is huge, but email is the most used feature for existing web users. Facebook on the other hand has a crappy email function and it is targeted at younger audiences who don’t value email.
This is a good move for Google – go after the users they own and leverage that to bolt on a social network component – it’s a threat to Facebook.
This is clearly something that is aimed at Facebook not Twitter. I believe that most Googlers dismiss the platform opportunity for Twitter. I for sure have been questioning Twitter’s credibility lately on their platform.
Google’s competitive strategy in all their big moves is not to compete head on, but instead change the game a with respect to their competitors. We see this playing out with Android for mobile, Chrome for client browser, and now Buzz for social networks. Google seems to be using their resources and making it open for a feature to their growing and successful developer strategy.
This might seem like a perfect path for Google to emulate Facebook’s success. Instead of competing head on with Facebook, Google can come at it from the other direction – their strength with GMail. The other wildcard is that Google can also make this enterprise friendly. and capture all those users who’s IT departments have been thinking of or actually shutting down Facebook access.
In no way is this a Facebook killer, but instead an opening move in a much longer and broader strategy to get into the social game.
A Twitter Wake Up Call
2) This might just bury Twitter and/or force their hand to sell. This announcement from Google – Google Buzz – will put pressure on Twitter to do something either to be better at what they do (and they need to improve big time) or to go ahead and sell the company. This move shows that Google can launch a feature fast that could possibly put Twitter out of business.
Twitter installed base (in my estimate) is about 20 million registered users (give or take a few million), and maybe half of that is spam and abandoned users. To Google these numbers are a rounding error in the scheme of things. If Google gets just “ok” traction with buzz they could dwarf Twitter instantly.
Moreover, Google’s success with developers has been stellar. Twitter’s developer success well ..(to be polite).. is just starting. Twitters recent suspensions of a legit businesses’ Twitter usernames over trivial terms of service is causing irreparable harm for those building and relying on top of Twitter.
I’m afraid that Google’s massive platform and developer traction might just be too much for even heavily funded startups like Twitter.
Not only does Google have the scale to surpass Twitter, Google knows how to monetize. Monetization is something that Twitter doesn’t even think about yet alone have any experience at. Again, this puts the pressure on Twitter to be better at what they are doing or sell.
Google Buzz is a Twitter wake up call and a opening move against Facebook.