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 Buzz eliminates the auto-follow features following a privacy backlash

Google Buzz has gotten off to a very rocky start, and the company is moving quickly to address privacy concerns resulting from its auto-follow feature.

The Buzz fiasco is encouraging, however, as another example of how the privacy police can alter the development and implementation of products. As we’ve seen, the Internet can be self-correcting, as users and self-anointed watchdogs work together to police new technologies and policies that can threaten our privacy. Google is the most powerful Internet company in the world, yet they understand that they have no choice but to take these concerns seriously.

This phenomenon will also strengthen our democracy and democracies (and fledgling democracies) around the world. Governments will think twice before imposing intrusive policies on their citizens.


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