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Google feeling the financial heat from Social Networking?

Tuesday, 4 November 2008 — by

Google logoGoogle don’t get Social Media? Maybe a surprising statement to some, but this is a big drum I’ve been beating for ages — Google are being blind-sided by Social Media & Social Networking. More worryingly for Google, Social Media is a problem they really don’t know how to respond to…

Arguably the biggest concern is the threat of Social Media undermining Google’s search business:

“Instead of ‘Googling’ for something, we find stuff being sent to us as emails from friends, in our profiles, in a friends’ lists of favourites, or any number of user-generated websites, ‘blogs, RSS feeds, Social Networks and Social Media portals.

While we’re busying ourselves voting and commenting on this stuff, we’re not using Google’s search algorithm, and we’re not clicking on Sponsored Links, either.”

I was derided at the time for even suggesting such an idea, but things have changed and circumstance is beginning to vindicate my forsight.

Then there’s trouble at the very top, with VP Marissa Mayer who has, at best, a fumbling grasp of Social Media.

Over on Clickz, Fred Aun teased out some very telling details from a report by Razorfish, a summary of which is pretty much nailed in the headline: Social Networkers don’t mind the Adverts. However, getting at those ad’ clicks will, according to Razorfish, require marketeers to venture into “uncharted territory”.

More recently, in a recent Google conference call, Sergey Brin, president of technology, said:

“I don’t think we have the killer best way to monetize Social Networks yet. We have had a lot of experiments (and some disappointments).”

I have to wonder if they’re ignoring opportunities that would otherwise be successful, but would come into conflict with their search advertising products. Whatever it is Google may or may not be ignoring, others will pursue with great vigor.

Those in the know will obviously know more. For someone like me — an interested outsider looking in — Google certainly don’t seem to be getting anything like a firm grip on either Social Media or Social Networking, both of which are pretty much here to stay and the future of many businesses, Google included…

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Zath → Tuesday, 4 November 2008 @ 14:41 BDT

I’m somewhat surprised Google hasn’t done more with social networking, they don’t even seem to push their own Google Bookmarking system that much – I don’t seen that much mentioned about it – it’s not even in-built into it’s own browser Chrome.

Perhaps that’s why Google was talking to Digg about buying it not so long ago.

In fact, thinking about it now, don’t eBay own StumbleUpon? Perhaps they’d be happy to sell to Google, a social networking system that already has sponsored advertising built in?

Wayne Smallman → Tuesday, 4 November 2008 @ 14:54 BDT

Zath / Simon, thanks for the comment and the Stumble!

It’s all a question of stewardship; eBay own StumbleUpon and Skype, two products that are languishing under the stewardship of eBay, who don’t really have much of a clue what to do with either of them.

Similarly, I think Google would be in much the same situation. I think buying either Digg or StumbleUpon would be smart move for Google, but they don’t seem to have the people who could make that work…

Sorry Comments are close. Quite possibly for a good reason. Share your thoughts on some of my other posts or contact me directly.

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