We've all been aware for a while that there's a new competitor on the market of social networking called Google Plus. The network, while technically superior, has failed to cause a mass exodus from Facebook in the same way that Facebook failed to crush Myspace immediately after its public debut. If Facebook wants to remain competitive, it needs to make some very choice moves in the coming years.
(1) It needs to listen to its users. Fiascos like the e-mmail change and charging pages to reach their customers is a fantastic way to lose customers. Facebook makes changes to their product without rhyme or reason and without taking into account what their users want. While it's obvious that Facebook users are not their customers, they are their supplier and if Facebook continues to alienate their users then Facebook is going to be in a world of trouble.
(2) Facebook needs to modernize its product. Facebook has been slowly copying some of the technological innovations of Google Plus for a while now, but they've been after-the-fact additions that are not always well implemented. Facebook needs to stop stop being reactive, and start taking proactive measures to ensure the validity of its product.
- Lists are the Facebook equivalent of a Google Plus circle, but they are not as intuitive, very under pronounced, and not nearly as powerful. Make lists a more prominent aspect of the Facebook experience and allow users to control the content that makes it to their News Feed.
- Privacy Settings are a joke on Facebook and are often times an all-or-nothing endeavor.
- The word processing abilities on Facebook are a joke. Users want the ability to edit their posts and style them to attract attention from fans and consumers.
- Take some initiative and become more innovative. For example, building a link shortner into your social media site is something that not even G+ has thought to do yet.
(3) Facebook needs to develop some stronger relationships. Google+ is not just a social network, it's a social layer to the entire web browsing experience that is Google and Facebook has tried to become the social layer to the entire internet, but it's clear that they've focused on quantity over quality. We've already seen Bing and Facebook try to recreate the Social Search that Google+ has provided Google, but Facebook needs to start focusing on the quality of their relationships with the other Silicon Valley giants.
- Strengthen your partnership with Amazon. Google Play allows users to see recommendations based on their circles, and Google Plus will allow users to share a "free listen" of any Mp3 song purchased in the Google Play store with their networks on Google Plus. Since Google owns both Google Plus and Google Play, the exchange of information between the social network and the store make both products superior for the user.
Facebook already has a product on Amazon, which allows Amazon to pull information about your friends' and their information (likes, birthdays, etc) to recommend products. Let's assume that Amazon does send information about your purchasing habits back to Facebook, that's all Facebook gets. Facebook needs to find a way to recreate the social purchasing experience that Google has with Google Play.
- Create a relationship with Apple. There is one thing that both Apple and Facebook have, it's public relations problems. Android and Google attract two types of people: those who hate Apple, and those who are "power users." In a word, it's the Geek Versus Noob culture war at its finest but Google has a decided advantage: the noobs don't know they're in a conflict.
Apple and Facebook are both companies that develop products that hand hold their users and limit their ability to customize their products to fit their needs. They are both companies that have a history of making decisions that have terrible effects on their Public relations, and they are both companies that cause a lot of hate and a lot of ferverent support from their fans. In a word, they're the same damn company.
Google Plus and all of Google's services are almost flawlessly integrated into their phones. Google has found a way to make using a smart phone a social experience for its users, and that experience simply has not been recreated by Apple. A close working relationship between the two conglomerates would only serve to benefit both companies.
It's obvious that Facebook is in some real trouble, but a company like that won't go under overnight. Something "clicked" as a mass exodus occurred from Myspace to Facebook, and such an exodus has yet to occur to Google Plus. Facebook can save itself, but Zuckerberg's team needs a plan of attack and I for one hope they find it. Google needs the competition to keep innovation alive. :)
This article is a phenomenal, albeit bias piece on the comparison between the current reigning champion of Budget Tablet, the Kindle Fire, and the newly debut'dGoogle Nexus 7.
What the article doesn't tell you is that the Kindle is linked into the Amazon Wispernet, whereas the Nexus is linked into the newly developed (and far less potent) Google Play. The article makes a mistake which must be addressed very clearly though: *the Nexus 7 does not have a SD slot*. It does, however have a front facing camera which will make the Google Plus application use that much more potent than anything the Kindle Fire has.
Additionally, the Kindle Fire has a overlaid Operating System on it. Meaning that while it is Android, the Fire has an Amazon flavored version of Android which means that your OS updates (if any) will come from Amazon several weeks after they've been released by Google. While the Amazon Fire does everything I need it to and at a speed and reliability that has caused no complaints from me, getting a fresh-install OS direct from the manufacturer is always a "best practice." That said, it remains to be seen how (or if) updates will be automatically pushed to the Nexus via WiFi.
My advice is if you're in the market for a budget tablet, then wait until a few weeks after the Nexus 7 has been released and we get some legitimate user reviews of the device. This will also give us some time to see what Amazon's response to the debut will be, I for one am giddy with anticipation. However, I digress: the Nexus is definitely worth the second look, and in the end it will ultimately come down to one simple question:
Which is more important to you? Having a strong cloud computing experience, or having a superior hardware and Operating System?
One of the main selling points for Google Chrome is extensions and customization. I am a very picky individual, and I only install a small handful of extensions at any given time, preferring the extra security, speed, and ease of troubleshooting over a hyper-personalized browsing experience. That said, I do have a small handful of Chrome Extensions that I feel are 'mandatory' for a good, solid browsing experience on (arguably) the best browser currently on the market.
The ability to click a single button on the top right, add your on comments to it, and then post it on a publicly accessible location predates Pinterest. Not all of our online shopping takes place on Amazon.com, but they have the widest assortment of products and the most intuitively integrated wish list software. Manage all of your future purchases in one location, and share it out over Twitter or Facebook when the holiday season comes around so you don't end up with socks for the fifth year in a row!
Google Plus does not have a public API, and as such cross posting information can be a real pain. There are competitors to this extension which offer more power in exchange for slower response times, increased troubleshooting steps, and more centralization of all of your login credentials. I prefer this lightweight application over the other ones any day of the week. Click the Twitter Bird to share a preexisting post to Twitter, or create a post directly to Twitter and G+ by selecting it from the "Share With" section of G+.
Once your new tweet arrives on Twitter, it will link back to G+. Additionally, since Twitter has 'post to facebook' options, you can instantly share your G+ content with your Facebook friends with the click of a single button. It will include pictures and a link just as if you copy and pasted the link directly to your facebook page.
This addon says that you can see tweets as they arrive, but that functionality has never really worked reliably for me.
A Google developed extension. It simply checks your e-mail periodically and informs you when you have new mail in an unobtrusive but easily accessible manner.
This is a nifty little add-on that blocks and records website's attempts to track your browsing habits while you're on the internet. It was very eye opening to see that even though I operate Chrome on a default "block all, allow exceptions" method for cookies, I was still having an alarming number of trackers being blocked. I'm not 100% sure how this add-on works, it's a relatively new addition, but after a month I'm well over the 10,000 mark. o.Q
This is one of my favorite install/use/uninstall extensions out there. It accesses your G+ information, something that I do not take lightly, so I utilize the add-on and then promptly uninstall and revoke it's access. It's a wonderful addition to remove bloat from your circles by allowing you to specify circles that you wish to trim and a drop-dead date to compare against. Plussers who have not posted (or shared) content with you since that date will be flagged. After review and verification, you can then remove those plussers from your circles.
Warning: It will trigger a Catchca if you remove more than 100 or so people.
Most netizens know, and sing, the accolades of Kickstarter and what that company has done to enable small business owners and hobbyists to fund raise for their latest and greatest. Some of the coolest things I have ever owned have been purchases through Kickstarter, and they all come with the satisfaction of knowing that I helped a small company, start up, or hobbyist fulfill their dream. There's a new company on the block that hopes to move into this niche market, entering stage left: Fundable.
Fundable a new online funding company has entered the market to capitalize on Kickstarter's ingenuity. Combining Kickstarter's low-risk pledge for rewards model, with the Crowdfunding JOBS act to be passed later this year.Currently, Fundable states that:
"Accredited investors may inquire about investing in your company. Toward the end of the year the newly signed JOBS Act will allow you to provide specific details about your equity offer to the public. For now, it's limited to accredited investors inquiring directly."
Currently, the law says that only "accredited investors" may invest in private offerings. Accredited investors in the U.S. must have a net worth of at least one million dollars exclusive of their primary residence. (It's the 1 percent who fund startup businesses.)
Under JOBS, anyone may invest up to $10,000 a year, or up to 10 percent of their net income if they earn less than $100,000 a year, in private companies. This means everyone could participate in the funding of startup businesses to some extent. This may lead to an increase in funding of small businesses and thus employment, which is a key selling point of the JOBS Act.
Under this new model, Fundable would enable individual investors to invest 10% or $10,000 dollars a year to small start up companies. Kickstarter has had remarkable success in helping hobbyist and small companies perform projects that are normally out of their scope. A few small businesses have been started (and in one case, a remarkable new business), but Kickstarter has not yet been able to really branch out into the market of equity trading; no one has.
Could Fundable be the new Kickstarter for more serious investors? Will Kickstarter follow suite and add options for equity investments? What, besides economic growth, do you see happening as a result of the JOBS act?
Google Plus has been one of those polarizing topics recently that have got a lot of people in a tizzy. What is it? Where is it going? Is it Facebook? Is it the end of Google? Opinions on the subject vary greatly and the only common denominator seems to be that no one can stop talking about this new social media platform and what it means for the future of Google.
Quick Re-cap for those of you just joining or are finally hearing about Google Plus:
A recent opinion piece by Marcus Sheridan suggests that the integration of Google+ into something called Social Search may be the downfall of Google's main product, its search engine. His chief complaint about social search was:
"I like my friends. I really do. But I don’t like seeing them in my Google search results. I don’t want to read the same opinions of the same people over and over again. I want random. I want a mix."
What he fails to take into account is that your plussers are not your friends. They are people you choose to follow because their interests correlate with yours, so would social search just add another reason to be selective in who you circle? I circle people on Google+ because their content interests me, and I use them as filters to help me find only the articles, videos, and pictures most relevant to my life. Using them to filter my search results as well, as an opt-in feature, would be just as helpful. However, he does raise a valid concern.
"I certainly do feel the future of search will at some point be a legitimate two-party system(or more), it’s really only a matter of time. And it may come a lot sooner that you and I think."
Social Search is coming, whether we want them or not. At the very least, these features need to be customizable, and opt-in/opt-out. There most certainly are times, such as a research paper, when I can not be distracted or misled to an article that was carelessly +1'd by a friend. These features also need to be kept in balance with regular search results. I can not have my only source of information be those whom I circle on Google Plus (Facebook, or whatever next generation social media). So I find the pragmatic side of me leaning towards Mr. Sheridan's "End is Near" view.
Others, are much more hopeful about the future of social search. All Facebook posted an article that is the definition of irony as it sings accolades about Google's business model and social search. The article quotes Zuckerberg:
"The past 100 years have been defined by the mass media. In the next 100 years, information won’t be just pushed out to people: It will be shared among the millions of connections people have."
Zuckerberg is a pretty apt individual, and he's hit the nail on the head for the future of social search and the ability to use our connections to expand our knowledge base. This is evident by the new relationship between Bing and Facebook to allow your facebook friends to influence your search results. The problem with this business model is two-fold:
- There's an extra layer of management between the two companies. Any product that requires two companies is going to be less efficient than a product that is managed by a single team.
- Facebook is late to join the party. Google+ has already rolled this same product out for their services, and they did it seamlessly.
It's obvious that social search is going to revolutionize both search algorithms and social media. The question is, which juggernaut is going to win? Will the search engine of the world come out on top of social search, or will the number one social media site come out swinging? One thing is clear, Google needs to be take a lesson from Mr. Eglan. Google needs to be aggressive and sell Google+ as the replacement to Facebook; otherwise, this is going to be a long fight.