Sunday, July 3, 2011

FaceSkypeBing vs GoogleTwitAd+

Seth Godin is right - there is much to be said for writing down ones’ predictions. It's stimulating and frankly, it's a lot easier than writing well researched facts or carefully considered opinion. Time for some future gazing.

Has Microsoft just just come up with a game-changing move for itself? Like many, I was amazed by the $8.5b that they paid for Skype. But suddenly it’s not looking so crazy after the news that Skype is going to be integrated into Facebook. Microsoft also owns 5% of Facebook and it must have all sorts of pre-emption rights and calls on more Facebook stock, surely? The destiny of these two Companies is very much connected.

Bing, Skype and Facebook can all work very nicely together, creating more pain for Google's social web ambitions. Soon you won’t need to hang-out online outside of a Microsoft-powered Facebook - it’ll all be there: email, all your friends, voip, bing and, if they go the whole way, Office too.

Facebook will steal all the good ideas from Google+ and integrate them into their platform. They will already be working on some ‘circles’ type system for organising Facebook friends - it won’t take them long to figure that one out. they may even have done it already.

So what does Google do? If the social web is the future and they are never going to catch up with Facebook/Microsoft how does Google respond?

Google has to get serious about Twitter.

People use Facebook and Twitter for slightly separate things. Facebook is mainly about the conversations between friends. It's a marketing channel of course but it’s method is to insert itself into social interactions - ‘recommendations’ & ‘likes’ work by cropping up in people’s conversations. With Skype and Bing, Facebook will utterly dominate this ‘friends’ space.

Twitter is a pure marketing channel - even if ‘all’ you are marketing is your personality. It’s not social. It’s not a conversation, it’s a series of micro-broadcasts. It has a low uptake amongst teenagers who use Facebook to organise their social lives. As soon as people have something to sell, their labour for example, they use Twitter.

Google is never going to beat Facebook at the friends conversation game but it can win the business and marketing game given its strength in search and advertising and its new ability to help us effortlessly organise contacts as Google+ seems to promise.

GoogleTwitAd+ can work as beautifully as FaceSkypeBing and it can provide the perfect platform to sell services, products, points of view or ideas. But for that to happen and for Google to dominate that space, Google has to buy Twitter at any price and integrate it into Google+ … like, now.