Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hello Facebook - We're Google and You're Not

It's no secret that a majority of Google's income comes from their advertising platform(s).

Wall Street has come to expect a LOT from Google and the (slightly crazy) double digit increases that the company has delivered for it's shareholders.

In recent months, the search giant has made numerous acquisitions.  More importantly, they have made moves to protect their home turf: Highly relevant search results and ads that work.  Yahoo! and others might want to take notice that Google is ramping up their display advertising programs, potentially including them in products such as Gmail.

More specifically, the ongoing push of Android, first via direct sales (which didn't work) followed quickly thereafter by carrier marketed Android powered phones (to counter any ad platform threat from Apple).

Apparently, Google is going one step further in the 'Apple' world introducing a music download platform later this year.  (Apple acquired LaLa.com some months ago ... Google had promoted the service heavily in their search index and inside bets were on them).

Similarly, bets were on Google to acquire hyper start-up Friendfeed.  A network that grew exponentially and was started by a group of prominent ex-Googlers (not exclusive of the founder of Gmail and others).

Privately held Facebook made that (very expensive) talent buy literally overnight, and got Friendfeed along with it to the dismay of many Friendfeed loyalists.  Friendfeed co-founder and ex-Googler Bret Taylor was recently named CTO at Facebook and head of platform development.

So while Google is betting heavily on other services such as the Chrome OS to enter even more markets, it's not only possible but now probable that Facebook could and probably will make a dent in Google's targeted  marketing platforms and it's highly likely they aren't going to sit by and watch.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was asked about the rumored Google Me project (a Facebook competitor) at the Guardian's technology conference last Thursday.  He didn't say no.  He said "That would be a product announcement, and I won't say".

Make no mistake about it.  Marketing genius and innovation at Apple.  Microsoft with more than a few surprises last year and Windows 7 sales at a high clip. Facebook with more users than the entire population of the United States.

This 'war' is heating up ... again ..... and is going to start getting real interesting in the Fall and particularly as we enter the next holiday shopping season.  A wholesale change in the web advertising landscape is distinctly possible and deals by all of these companies with content providers is likely.