The Picture and A Thousand Words
Piper Jaffray tech analyst Gene Munster among the Facebook bulls. He just gave an interview to Bloomberg TV which must have made any Googlers listening cringe.” “Google has given up on social. Facebook owns the social graph, Google can’t replicate it, and that race is over. Google is just going to continue improving search instead of trying to compete head-on with Facebook. Facebook is the place in Silicon Valley where all the rockstars want to work. Facebook is Google five years ago, and Google is Microsoft.”
This is my natural response to the question of Google and the social:
The “social” war between Facebook and Google (and the ad dollars involved) really strikes me as the war between the “photographic” and the “lexical”. Facebook wouldn’t be what it is without the “face”, and Google without the search term. Which of these are more social? The face one would have to say at first blush. But the face lacks depth and breadth of contextual communication. So FB is attempting to lexify (is that a word?) its database with interests and likes, and Google trying to find in-roads into human relationships (Places, email – already established). Facebook has one huge problem though, the “social” often has strong anti-commerce assumptions.
I should add that Twitter as a (largely) lexical medium really seems poised here at the front line between between Google and Facebook, between search and social ties. It possesses the lexcial dimension to open up and expand social, affect-bound media, and yet the potential for social bonds to be brought to bear on data-rich, search contexts.