Is Google Anchored in Social Reality?

April 16, 2012

In the article, “Google CEO Page: Social Networking Service Surpassing Predictions,” Larry Page shares his positive thoughts regarding Google’s social networking future. However, ComScore presents some statistics that challenge the validation of his optimistic outlook.

“Google, the leading Web-search provider, is playing catch- up with Facebook Inc., which has more than 845 million users versus more than 100 million for Google+. U.S. users spent an average 3.3 minutes on Google’s social network in January 2012, compared with 7.5 hours for Facebook, according to ComScore Inc. Page said his company’s early focus on Web search came at the expense of helping people socialize.”

Ironically, Google+ is the fourth attempt by Google to rival Facebook. They created Orkut in 2004. Orkut was a hit with the Brazilians. It was followed in 2008 by Google Friend Connect which was retired in March 2012. Google Buzz was their third disappointment. Launched in 2010, the service was terminated in 2011.

The history of Google’s failed attempts to compete clearly shows they’ve lost this popularity contest. Facebook firmly takes the lead in both user numbers and time spent online by an overwhelming margin. This makes it difficult to understand how Mr. Page can rationalize gaining ground against the Facebook behemoth in the social networking industry. My question, “Is Google realistic about its social networking options?”

Jennifer Shockley, April 16, 2012

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