Why Google Wants To Buzz Facebook
A majority of the billion -plus internet users of the world are dependent on Google, MSN, Yahoo or AOL for their communication needs - primarily mail and search activities.
However, users are increasingly spending more time on social media and entertainment destinations. This occurs through numerous avenues, including video, podcasts, games, pictures, slide shows, blogs, and the ubiquitous Twitter. The mobile phone is yet another level of communication, which will soon add several billion more users and ultimately be linked to all these destinations.
All four communication giants have a stake in the mail, search and video business. However, it was social media and games where players like Facebook won the race to earn its first billion. Fire-walled from search engines, Facebook prevented prying eyes search into its methods of success and rapid growth that brought it 400 million active users in a couple of years.
The Neilsen data above shows that Facebook engaged with its users for an average of over 6 hours, as compared to less than 2 hours for Google and other websites, one reason why it became a hot favorite with advertisers.
With Facebook chat and games like Farmville and Mafia Wars engaging the youth for hours, online advertisers found a loyal user group dedicated for almost a quarter of their daily time. More than half of Facebook's estimated ad revenue of $1 billion this year will be from performance- and brand-based advertising, the fastest growing segment of digital advertising after the video segment.
With $120 billion at stake in the digital media market, the lack of a footprint in this segment would be suicidal for Google, especially as mobile users of Facebook and Twitter grew by 112% and 349% respectively last year.
Before firewalled social media became the order of the day, Google needed to barge through the clusters, to the consumer direct with its own version. Google's Buzz thus muscled in, swiftly followed by a new Chrome browser and an apps marketplace - integrating Gmail, other Google apps, YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, and gadgets that tie Twitter as well as Facebook. The ongoing duel for eyeball retention will be worth watching, especially if it could bring in the games that engage the youth.