Why Buzz Wont Beat Facebook

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-02-16 Print this article Print

Now, we mustn't forget that Google pledged to bring Buzz to Google Wave and possibly Google Voice, so there is the potential to reach a few more million users (Voice has between 1 and two million users, while Wave has over 1 million).

But Facebook has more than double the users of Gmail, Wave, Voice and other Google Apps combined. Facebook users have become comfortable with the service, with an average user spending 20 minutes or more per day behind the walled garden of social delights.Users have shared loads of content there

Facebook is not afraid of Buzz. The company acknowledged the difficulty in Buzz' goal of socializing an e-mail inbox, which offers a balance between personal and professional relationships, in a public statement to me:

"The continued growth of the social web will be determined by people and personal relationships. The people that you e-mail and chat with the most may not be your closest friends or the people that you want to share and connect with. We're supportive of technologies that help make the Web more social and the world more open, and we're interested to see how Google Buzz progresses over time."

In other words, Facebook doesn't believe Google "gets" the social Web. No threat there.

How can a newfangled service lure customers or users, as it were, away from their comfort zones?

It's tough. Buzz will gain some users who despise Facebook; it's already got cheerleaders such as Jason Calacanis stumping for the service. But it also has privacy experts who revile the service.

Google's challenge with Buzz is similar to that of the stacked deck Microsoft Bing and Yahoo face every waking day in search. Just ask Bing, which has taken 8 months to gain 3 percentage points of market share and now sits at 11.3 percent.

That's actually a lot of search share in so short a time, but even if Bing gains 5 percent share per year, it would still take more than a decade to catch Google, which is at 65 percent. No one believes that is going to happen. Well, maybe Microsoft does. It's okay to possess delusions of grandeur.

So it goes with Buzz. If Google thinks Buzz is going to trigger a mass exodus from Facebook, where users are most comfortable, it also suffers from delusions of grandeur.

That's okay. It's all in the spirit of healthy competition as Google and Facebook fight for one of the greenest online frontiers after mobile: the social ad space.


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