The battle lines are clearly drawn – Google is scared to death of Facebook. It makes sense – as more and more people spend time on it they need Google less and less, but as Google tries to strong arm everyone into submission FB is running around realizing that being an enabler is better than destroying everything in their path – ala Google.
Take FB Zero for instance:
This system is apparently called zero-rated pages, and allows operators to use a trimmed down version of a web application as a sort of teaser, driving the adoption of certain mobile services or apps, and more data usage revenue down the line.
Presumably, Facebook will offer Facebook Zero to carriers for free, since it helps them make the social network as ubiquitous on mobile phones as possible.
Wow. Helping carriers to drive adoption and bill more minutes. Carriers love that shit.
This is compares to the talk at the Mobile World where even the big guys like Vodafone are trying to gently tell Schmidt to back off:
In one sign of these growing fears, even Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone – nominally one of Google’s business partners – raised a red flag over the potential spread of its search dominance into the mobile world. Regulators should take a close look at Google’s massive market share in search, he said, “before it is too late”.
As I have said many times – Google is the next MSFT but maybe worse since their monopoly of the Internet might actually be stronger in comparison to MSFT’s monopoly of the desktop. What is silly is how Google goes around telling everyone they are good, helpful and trying to make life easier.
Right – and McDonald’s good for me:
Whatever the reality, botching the launch of the strategically important Buzz has intensified a feeling that has been growing as Google has sought to extend its reach: that it is deliberately using its dominance in one area to gain a stronger foothold in new markets, much as arch-rival Microsoft did before it.
For me it is the way they shove new features down your throat on top of other widely used products. Just like MSFT did with the OS.
The only other company that can fill this evolving void is Apple, but Apple is not interested in commodity businesses. Google sees a great opportunity and has decided to pursue it, mostly by imitating Microsoft’s leverage strategy: if you want free mail, you (also must) get social traffic (because we need your personal network data graph). You’re welcome, enjoy your Buzz!
This leverage strategy can indeed let Google harvest more social territory, at the expense of Facebook and Twitter…but only for a time. Eventually, what Microsoft is going through now is what will happen to Google, even if Google thinks it’s immune to Microsoftdom.
What is funny is buzz on its own would probably be dead in a few months but since they can attach it to Gmail it has a shot – not matter how badly designed:
In its urgency to offer a me-too product, Buzz confuses the read/unread email paradigm with real-time messaging stream like Twitter. It adds insult to injury by co-mingling various cognitive spheres like blogs, photos, videos, status, etc into thin soup delivered through an unceasing firehose. The final blow is the embarrassingly unfocused layout: the complete absence of visual hierarchy and progressive disclosure, overabundance of visual cues/links for action, and clumsiness in using white space to strip away meaningful information density.
I’m sure Google executives don’t think these are critical, as long as Buzz is free and can be leveraged through Google’s other widely used properties. If Buzz was a startup product, it would have died shortly. But when you expose it by default to 175 million users, who needs to worry about design and delighting users!
If this takes you back to the ’90s, to a place called Redmond, you’re not alone. Buzz wasn’t an accident. Get used to it.
To top it all off though is their arrogance. Google is so big, rich and feeling invincible that they tend to act like if you don’t like it then stuff it. Funny thing is some people did – their Gmail account anyway. I actually had a few friends email me to say that after the buzz fiasco they were dumping their Gmail account. Nice. Eric is not known for caring about what anyone thinks anyway – let alone his customers:
For a guy who threw a fit when personal details about where he lives and how much money he makes were revealed — using public information sources — by a CNET writer (which resulted in a ban on contact with the publication that was later lifted), this is a pretty laissez-faire response to the concerns of Google Buzz users. And Schmidt has made similar statements about privacy before. Hey Eric — would it be so hard to just say “We’re sorry?” You can say it now, or you can tell it to the FTC.
Google needs to get back to actually building cool things, making what they have better and realizing that no one cares for their arrogance and forced product adoption.