Google vs. Facebook

The battle between Google and Facebook is heating up. Google is working on “Google Me” – a social network alternative to Facebook. This article explains some of the perceived threats. It really boils down to a battle between two of the biggest titans on the web, and the decisions of these two companies will have huge implications on how we use it going forward.

Google has already had a dud with Google Buzz, and it seems clear that they don’t understand the concept of social networking. They understand math and algorithms, but they seem to have little understanding of how humans interact with one another. They seem to avoid human input at all costs, always trying to solve problems with an algorithm.

We’ve seen this with some of the heavy-handed tactics used by Google with users of services like Google Adsense. If Google perceives a problem with an account, that account is shut down automatically, and the user is forced to endure a bureaucratic as they implore Google to restore their account.

If Google wants to compete in the social network space, they will need a team that understands this very different environment.

Meanwhile, Facebook is reportedly on “lockdown” as Zuckerberg rallies his team to deal with the coming threat.

Google closes music blogs without warning

At some point, Google’s heavy-handed tactics with long-time users is going to really hurt them. Here’s another example of Google’s ruthless and unfair approach to alleged problems.

In what critics are calling “musicblogocide 2010,” Google has deleted at least six popular music blogs that it claims violated copyright law. These sites, hosted by Google’s Blogger and Blogspot services, received notices only after their sites – and years of archives – were wiped from the internet.

“We’d like to inform you that we’ve received another complaint regarding your blog,” begins the cheerful letter received by each of the owners of Pop Tarts, Masala, I Rock Cleveland, To Die By Your Side, It’s a Rap and Living Ears. All of these are music blogs – sites that write about music and post MP3s of what they are discussing. “Upon review of your account, we’ve noted that your blog has repeatedly violated Blogger’s Terms of Service … [and] we’ve been forced to remove your blog. Thank you for your understanding.”

Jolly as Google may be, none of the bloggers who received these notices are “understanding” in the least. Although such sites once operated on the internet’s fringes, almost exclusively posting songs without permission, many blogs are now wined, dined and even paid (via advertising) by record labels. After the success of blog-buzzy acts such as Arcade Fire, Lily Allen and Vampire Weekend, entire PR firms are dedicated to courting armchair DJs and amateur critics.

Google has used a similar ruthless approach in connection with users who allegedly violate Adsense rules. They kill your account without warning, and then you have to prove you did nothing wrong.

Google is incredibly successful, so perhaps this won’t hurt them much. But the perception that Google treats its users like shit is gaining ground, and they deserve to pay a price for this behavior.

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