Facebook Is Fun, Google Is Useful

Picture 137I read this article in VentureBeat about folks at Facebook now dismissing Twitter:

“Twitter is a great company,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, Facebook’s vice president of growth, mobile and international expansion in an interview yesterday. “What they do is offer a way to publish information in a very consumable, public way.”

But, he continued, “they’re in the rear-view mirror.”

“To focus on a company with 40 million users that is not growing is not a good idea,” he said, citing Hitwise market share data as evidence of Twitter’s slowdown.

Arrogance. Then there’s the discussion about how Facebook sees itself as the future “start page for the Internet”:

“There are three people ahead of us,” Palihapitiya said, referring to those three companies. Of those, he said Google looms largest. That’s because Google now dominates the primary way most people start looking for information — with a search engine, which they use to then browse the web. Facebook, Palihapitiya says, envisions a future where people consume information in a very different way: You start at Facebook, and consume information largely upon recommendation from your friends or via other social filters.

Many people may feel differently, but in my view Facebook is mostly about entertainment and light (not serious) communication. (Adding Skype-like voice capability would make it more useful.) Google by contrast remains extremely useful and accomplishes many tasks through a single simple interface. For that reason, I’m quite far away from substituting Facebook for Google. Many things would need to change first:

  • Make FB more recommendations friendly than it is now
  • Make Web search better (still a missed opportunity for both FB and MSFT)
  • Integrate site/network search and Web search. They’re separate currently

Notwithstanding Facebook Lite, Facebook itself remains unwieldy as a tool to get things done.

9 Responses to “Facebook Is Fun, Google Is Useful”

  1. Tim Cohn Says:

    The thought of Facebook’s audience ever behaving like Google’s audience is wishful thinking.


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  4. Terry Howard Says:

    You know, it would be nice just once for someone in the online tech world to actually have as a goal to in the end provide something that is not Google. Why does Facebook have to become Google? Why can’t it be Facebook? I would think by now people would realize that the catch-all portal concept is not happening. People like to have their combination of 3 or 4 primary sites to start 90% of their online activity because they can craft the experience that best fits them. In the end, Facebook is going to end of losing what got them their user base in the first place amongst all the other junk they load it up with.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    I totally agree that FB should be happy being FB and not try and take over from google. But the psychology of startups, investors and employees looking to cash in is highly competitive.

    Another word for it is “greed.”

  6. Terry Howard Says:

    Between Newspapers and Social Media startups I’m starting to see this recurring theme of a 100% lapse in historical perspective. It’s like the dot com bubble all over again, subscription models and portals. All we need now is for someone to start running sock puppet ads and the circle will be complete.

  7. Tim Cohn Says:

    Funny Terry…

    With what else can denial or bubbles be constructed?

    I think Facebook should receive an honorary sock puppet whether they decide to employ it as their spokesperson or not.

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