Social Media and Social Networking

Get Social!

Google on Alert from Social Networking Sites

Posted by Vaibhav Kalamdani on May 26, 2009

google_logoAccording to you, what are social networking sites famous for? I believe majority of you would say connecting with friends, sharing photos and videos, chatting, passing time, promoting yourself and/or your service, and sharing information with your connections. And when I ask you what is Google famous for, your answer would undoubtedly be “search”. But what if you come to know that the search engine giant is concerned about its search business due to social networking sites? You would be amazed, isn’t it?

The latest comments by a Google official suggest that the company is considering social networking sites like Facebook as challengers to its search engine. Google group product manager Ken Tokusei stated that the standard list of links shown by Google is not seen as intimate or trustworthy when people look out for advice online for everyday, personal decisions. He said that social networking sites or known review sites gain advantage for decisions like selecting a restaurant or a day-care provider.

It’s all about trust, and that’s where social networking sites have an edge over search engines, as they offer information from friends, acquaintances or at least an individual. Though Google has started offering tools for users to rate the results and delete unrelated links, it still has to work on it, said Tokusei.

Playing It Safe:

Google is an undisputed champion when it comes to the search technology and market share, dominating the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft. Though these players have deep pockets, they get beaten by Google in the search competition every year without any mercy. So, what concerns Google about social networking sites, in spite of the phenomenon just starting to take off on the Web?

Though being the search leader over the years, Google is a great business mind that knows how and when users can change their behavior online. It is being cautious and proactive to keep its business safe from upcoming mega-trend “social networking” which has the ability to influence consumer’s behavior to a great extent. It knows that online users are becoming search savvy and hence would expect specific solutions to their queries.

The Road Ahead:

In order to provide better answers to the search queries, Google does combine the data and analyzes it instead of displaying a list of sites alone. However, this is applicable to few searches only.

According to Tokusei, it is a matter of determining what kind of information the user is searching for. He said that the company would always serve some links to pages with its results, which it has been doing so far. He also mentioned that Google has developed several expanding tools and services, but devotes 70% of its employees and resources to search. This shows how focused the company is in developing its search business, which brings most of the revenue from its entire operations.

While Google continues to find solutions to deal with social networking sites, it would also be careful from its traditional arch-rivals Yahoo and Microsoft, who are trying to capture a larger pie of the search market.

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