I’ve been explaining this to people over and over again and I reached the point where I just want to point them to a web page to read through before we can talk some more about it :p
So here it is, in a nutshell, the whole deal about Google and Facebook competing to hire the best engineers and develop the ultimate social network. This is also the deal about Google Buzz, Google Wave and Google whatever other products they pimp these days… including personalized search and maps.
What Facebook and Google want, is to get as much personal information as they can to better profile you as a consumer.
Ideally, they’ll try to do that by looking good. For example: they don’t really push you to volunteer info about your age, place of residence, etc. Instead they merely let you share your thoughts about getting married, or going on vacation, or buying a new car, or considering a new diet, or what not with your friends… but don’t kid yourself, all these status updates, they are basically strings of very meaningful keywords… and they are being analyzed! Right Now!
Checking into places is the same thing… know what you eat, where you shop, what you do for recreation, etc.
Oh, and btw, about your age group and living area… they can approximate it pretty well from your friends’ profiles… yes, the ones that did fill out everything :p
At this point, most people tend to start looking at Google or Facebook as if it was big brother or as if they were going to provide private data to the governement or something like that…
Seriously, they don’t care about how you spend your time and whatever thoughts might cross your mind. You’re not that importnat to them as an individual. You’re just a number. Yes, get over it! :) All they want is to be able to automatically match your current concerns with the proper ads, no matter what you think.
The way ad placement works right now is that you visit a site about growing tomatoes and you might get “relevant” ads about seeds or even growing lights…
The way it’s going to be done in the future – that is when Facebook’s global ad network is fully mature, and when Google’s extended AdSense has caught up on it – is going to be this: you visit a site about growing tomatoes, but since the ad system knows you, it will serve you ads about the car you consider buying, or a weddding planner, or whatever high ticket product they know you are currently interested in…
Then, you go to a site about cooking pasta… and they serve you the same personalized car/wedding/travel/whatever ads again… until you’ve had so much exposure to them, that you just can’t ignore them any more… And in the end, they’ll make a lot more money than if they had exposed you to ads aboit tomato seeds or organic pasta…
If you’re an internet marketer you’re either excited by this or annoyed by the extra power those giants will get.
If you’re just a user, like it or not… but any major “free” service you get on the internet, whether it’s email, or a social network or youtube, etc. has already started to profile you… welcome to the 2010’s :)
They both need to learn (from whom I don’t know), Facebook want to keep it cool and YouTube was not quite success stroy in advertyising like Adwords.
Google has also launched Google plus for social networking but it can’t beat Facebook because Facebook has many features rather than Google.