Fighting Poverty with Passion
by @gordonmacmillan, posted on 15 September, 2010 at 10:32 am, filed under Search Engines, Social Media and tagged Facebook, Google, Google Me, Social Media, Social Networking, Twitter.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that its much talked of social networking plans, widely dubbed “Google Me”, will be unveiled later this autumn, but the suggestion that it has a Facebook killer in the works appears wide of the mark. Speaking at the Google Zeitgeist conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, Schmidt did not go into great detail according to a report on WSJ.com, but he gave a road map to the direction Google is heading with social media.
The idea of Google Me appears very much to be leaning to allowing users to access in one place all of the social information and projects they have across the web. That place would be their Google hub – their Google Me homepage. So imagine a place where you can monitor your own social media activity and that of your friends be it on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Google is for instance working on ways to let people know, for instance, when a particular video is being watched by many of their friends on YouTube in the same way they would find out that a lot of people liked a post on Facebook.
For this to happen of course, Google would need access to Facebook’s data and Schmidt spoke about this. Good luck with that one. Schmidt wants Facebook to open its data and for a two way flow of data to flow between Facebook say and Gmail, but as we all know Facebook doesn’t allow this to happen. Twitter would like similar data access, but no dice. “The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data. Failing that, there are other ways to get that information,” Schmidt said. Other ways? What is he going around to Mark Zuckerberg’s house with some heavy set geeks? Wait I don’t think such a thing exists.
I am excited to hear about Google’s plans to incorporate social media applications into their interface. By now Google is a well-known and respected search engine and online service provider. Many individuals use Google as their primary email provider, and many businesses utilize their business tools. Facebook, on the other hand, seems to lack a similar degree of utility and credibility.
When marketing Facebook to businesses and non-profit organizations, I often get a hesitant response (e.g., “I’m not sure Facebook is for us”) accompanied by a dismissive look. Many of these businesses are under the impression that Facebook is solely for socializing or geared exclusively toward kids. However, I believe that if a provider as large and trusted as Google were to champion a similar platform, business leaders would begin to pay attention.
In terms of business models, social networking and media platforms offer endless opportunities in virtually every sector. Facebook and Twitter offer more than just a means to connect with friends. These outlets can provide businesses with a platform to share their goals with a global community, and to receive consumer feedback. Large corporations spend millions of dollars each year researching their customer base. If you want to know what your customers are interested in, why not just ask? They will be happy to tell you! By engaging with your clients directly, you will gain valuable feedback as well as their trust. Best of all, they will tell their friends about their positive experience.
Since I have not yet heard much about the new Google Me, I’m unable to determine the direction Google plans to take. As you’ll recall from previous field reports, I am a proponent of social networking sites, but I do think the market has become saturated with new (eerily similar) sites. I acknowledge that in business competition is good, but an oversupply can result in user confusion and/or lack of usage.
That being said, I do believe that this can be a pivotal transition for Google. If done properly, Google Me could be phenomenal. If not, it could be completely lost on users, which would be a shame. Ideally, Google Me social media components would be added to the already existing services Google provides. For instance, I’m a big fan of Google calendars. I use this feature daily for personal use, work purposes, and to coordinate community service projects. Being able to share an event (or even an entire calendar) on Facebook would allow for increased exposure and collaboration. Of course, this feature might be most attractive to businesses or professionals. It would also be nice to see a social component added to the Google Docs feature. For example, providing a direct and easy way to post a composed document to a Facebook page would be great for sharing and collaboration purposes.
Overall, it seems like the big question is: How cooperative will Facebook (and Twitter) be in this process? I predict, not very. Without cooperation I don’t see much room for growth, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. –Dominica Garza, AmeriCorps VISTA
Dominica Garza is the Social Media Liaison with the Center for Public Service at Tulane University, you can contact her by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.