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Google Goes to War With Facebook

The Internet’s gotten rather boring over the past couple of years. For me it’s always been a place to conduct business and research not a place to engage in pointless socializing as the current Social Media phase seems to demand. I have just never been into schmoozing for the sake of schmoozing. So it’s rather nice to see the two 800 lb. gorillas of the Net start to go at it. This should make the Net fun again.

Frankly, I don’t like either one of these giants. It’s not good for small business when Google is so dominant in search. The latest algo modification shifted billions in revenue from one group of sites to another. Imagine if you had been playing by the Google rules for years building up your traffic only to see it collapse over night as a result. That’s what happens when one search engine is so dominant. It makes me long for the 1990s when you had eight or ten search engines to choose from whenever you wanted to do a search. Back then you would use two or three for all important searches to satisfy yourself that you had found what you were looking for.

Then there’s the discomfiting fact is that Google is now delivering personalized search result to users. The other day I tested this by asking an associate to do a search on a three word search string. I gave him the exact words to use.  The site we were interested in came up as the 1st Google organic search result for me while it came in 9th for him.

How can you trust a search engine that delivers what it thinks you want to see? What we both wanted was an understanding of how that site ranks for everyone searching those three words.  (To understand the danger here, listen to this talk on filter bubbles by Eli Pariser.)

As for Facebook, well I can’t wait to see the demise of that thing.  However, I’m not holding my breath. Julian Assange of Wikileaks recently said “Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented.” Whether it’s a tool for spying on you by various so-called security agencies or a large corporation interested in persuading you to buy Blurppo breakfast cereal, it’s something I prefer to avoid as much as possible. Maybe I’m getting old but I still prize the quaint old notion of privacy whose days are rapidly running out.

So here’s to a good old-fashioned slug-match between the Internet giants. Let’s hope they do each other a lot of irreparable damage so that new opportunities can open up for the little guys and gals.  Or as a famous economist once put it:

This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in …. – Joseph A. Schumpeter

So bring it on. Don’t be shy, boys. Get your dukes up and go at it mano-a-mano. We need to make room online for the next new thing.

Facebook vs. Google fight turns nasty

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