Google Waving White Flag on Social?


whiteflagADOTAS – Buzz? Failure.

Wave? Squashed.

Google Me? Figment of the media imagination.

“At the end of the day, Google has basically given up on social,” said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said today on BloombergTV, before comparing Google to Microsoft (which is slightly better than being compared to Yahoo).

But Google, you were our only hope! Are we really doomed to a social networking existence under the glassy watch of Mark Zuckerberg?

The video is definitely not for Google investors with heart conditions: Munster also notes that Facebook is closing the monetization gap, geting better at predicting user desires via the social graph and is growing a 100% rate compared to Google’s 20%. Geez, I don’t have any Google stock and my chest is hurting — what kind of lecherous act must I perform to get in on Goldman Sach’s special purpose vehicle for Facebook?

You can trust analysts about as far as you can throw them, but Munster makes several good points, such as noting the social approach to collecting information is growing more popular than Google’s machine-based approach — something Big G has caught onto as well. Hence its efforts to enhance core products such as search through socializing and dipping into burgeoning fields such as social shopping. But Google seems to have admitted that the social graph is Facebook’s game — CEO Eric Schmidt whines at every turn about Facebook not sharing its precious, precious data.

As I wrote yesterday, Google’s sights for 2011 seem strictly on mobile, with an interesting focus on m-commerce (you down with NFC?). That definitely links into its renewed focus on local advertising and interest in discounting services that sorta rival Groupon.

Perhaps it’s for the best Big G is throwing in the towel on the social networking game — then again, winners never quit and quitters never win… What do you think?


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