Social media has grown from a fad that only high school/college kids partook in to keep up with friends to a multimillion dollar phenomenon. These days, it seems anyone you talk to dabbles in some form of online life. Whether that life is the micro-blogging sensation Twitter or the beast that is Facebook, we just cannot escape it. Social media is so big, major corporations now use Twitter and Facebook as a form of advertising.
Social media is big business to say the least. It is also an area that rapidly changes from year to year. This means if you are looking to join the big leagues, you have to be quick to the market with a service that offers something unique and compelling. Twitter did this with 140 character status updates. Facebook took Myspace and made it compelling for kids and grandmas to use. Even StumbleUpon is a unique way of social networking your site and content.
What does all this have to do with Google and Facebook? A lot, actually. Think of it this way, Facebook is arguably the reining king of social media. After all, millions of users login to Facebook on a daily basis. Google on the other hand, well, they are king of just about everything else Internet. The common thread for these to giants is they both make heaps of cash due to advertising.
Google has attempted to break into the social media space several times. Remember the hype that was Google Buzz and Google Wave? Both of these services were supposed to revolutionize the way we all interact with one another. Sadly for Google, these services provided too little too late. Thus, Google is back to search, email, and advertising as their primary services.
Adding a bit of salt to the wound, Google invested roughly $100 million in a company by the name of Zynga. You may know this company as the creator of hugely popular Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. These types of games drive insane amounts of traffic to Facebook, thus deepening the market value of Facebook. This is not something Google enjoys, as that is traffic they could benefit from.
Where does this leave Google? Right now it leaves them trying to figure out how to conquer this beast of a social media platform. One way Google is fighting Facebook is by turning off Facebook connect in all their Android devices. Sure you can turn it back on, but this is an inconvenience for users, if they catch it at all.
But what about Facebook? What are they doing to fight back at the biggest presence on the Internet? To start off, Facebook allows users to block their profiles from search engines. Why is this a big deal you ask? Blocking profiles from search engines, like Google, stops roughly 500 million people from showing up on search results. This equals less reliability on search engines, thus dropping their perceived value by users.
Another way that Facebook is fighting Google is in patents. Facebook owns several patents on items like their news feed technology. This makes it harder for anyone else to make use of a feature like this in their new and upcoming product.
Where does all this bickering back and forth leave you, the consumer of social media? Right now we are all just bystanders. There are a lot of rumors that one company will buy the other. Other rumors of blocking one another arise from time to time as well. Until there is some solid news from either company, these are only rumors.
The best thing you can do is use the service that best works for you. This means knowing what the advantages and disadvantages are to any social media service. Social media is still in its infancy. Services will continue to come and go, each bringing with them their own unique ideas. Who knows, some small company may creep up and blow both Google and Facebook away. Stranger things have happened.