Business Social Media

Facebook vs. Google: If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em–Google’s OpenSocial and Facebook Ads

Losing a bid to for a profitable investment to one of your major rivals is bound to be upsetting. It might even be so upsetting that you take a blood oath to destroy that investment or bend it to your will…

Facebook may have missed out on the chance to be a part of Google’s next big strategic move, but without their part ownership, Google moved on without them to launch their “Maka-Maka” initiative in the Facebook space. Facebook’s only rebuttal thus far is their new Facebook Ads services–Beacon, Insight and Social Ads.

Maka-Maka will integrate their major applications like Gmail and Google Maps into the social space and provide features similar to the Facebook “News Feed.”

The deadliest part of Google’s Maka-Maka plan is OpenSocial, which opens up a new development standards for integrating user information and competes with Facebook’s open API applications. With standards established, Google could pioneer a move that would allow users to keep in touch even outside of their social networks. Google is seeking a solid start to the movement by soliciting a number of the top developers of applications for Facebook.

OpenSocial will truly be open. Google is even allowing their competitors to take advantage. Google operates a social network called Orkut, more popular outside of the US than in it, but services such as Hi5, LinkedIn and Friendster have already jumped on board for OpenSocial, too. Even bigger news was made when shortly after the initial announcement, MySpace jumped on the bandwagon.

“Our partnership with Google allows developers to gain massive distribution without unnecessary specialized development for every platform,” Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO MySpace, said in a statement released late Thursday.

As a member of OpenSocial, MySpace is providing the group with platform experience and user mass, as it is still the most popular social network online.

MySpace is by far the biggest partner in this initiative as the largest, most popular social network to date and Facebook’s only close rival. Open Social applications could help them stop the rumors that Facebook will begin to steal away their users in the coming months. While Google makes itself the champion of open, Facebook continues to emphasize keeping it closed and private. TechCrunch warns that this move might make them the Apple of the social networking scene–as more and more developers see greater benefit from focusing on their OpenSocial apps that work across a larger number of sites and services. But is it so bad to be Apple? They aren’t doing so bad lately.

If you see OpenSocial as the upper hand for Google, you are overlooking Facebook’s possible stunning business move. As Mark Cuban pointed out, Facebook has a more valuable ad network because they have truthful, honest info on their profiles, and he suggests a licensing to someone like Yahoo! could be phenomenal.

So back to Yahoo and the Facebook API. I thought that if you put the 2 together, enabling Yahoo to access the Facebook database of users within the current API constraints, Yahoo search and ad serving would improve considerably. Expand the Facebook database with an opt in option to add further personal data that could be used FROM WITHIN THE YAHOO WEBSITE, the results for Yahoo could be extraordinary. A Yahoo searchbox within Facebook , or a search from a Yahoo site that recognizes you are the owner of a Facebook profile and customizes the results according to information culled from your profile would be incredibly powerful

I don’t know if anything can or would come of my little referral. Maybe now with MicroSoft buying into Facebook, they can get a free crack at the Facebook API and Facebook profile owners who also use MicroSoft Live can get better search and ad results. Who knows.

It’s a great thought, but it is probably not likely. Facebook prides itself on keeping user information within the network and private. Permissions have to be given for each individual application to access information. College students, the base users of the program, need to be extremely sensitive about what info goes out on the Web about them these days with employers going to Google to scope out candidates before they step in the door. Until Facebook finds a way to balance its emphasis on privacy and usability for developers by opening up the data a little more, they will remain the Ivory Tower in the social networking space.

Unfortunately for Facebook, if they don’t make this move, Google will certainly bring social networking into the search space to overwhelm Facebook’s offerings.

As an additional encroachment to the Facebook business model, Google has not only started to woo the hearts of application developers but is also planting the seeds of pay-per-action ads. These ads could eventually lead to a movement of developers utilizing AdSense in their apps on Facebook and get AdSense into the belly of the Facebook beast.

Facebook has not yet made any substantial response to Google’s move. With they’re anticipated ad services announcement today, Facebook provides some increased public uses of their info. Advertisers will be able to make use of Insight to collect info about the people who click their ads, Beacon to use Facebook profile widgets as endorsers and Social Ads to target specific interests that users have specified.

I don’t think Facebook Ads is the open direction that I was looking for with opening up their platform–as Wired states, it probably just means more spam. This ad move will probably just create another set of miffed users on Facebook as do many of Facebook’s pioneering steps. I would like to see the data opened up for more useful application around the Web, but only time will tell if Facebook will take the plunge or stand their ground try to wear out the Google “open” attack.

Google certainly has a great chance for revenge.