From Adage: “Google Sees Facebook Threat in String of Deals”

googleRead an article today about Google’s recent acquisitions and how they relate to Facebook:  http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=145563

An interesting quote from this article is an explanation by Debra Williamson (from emarketer) regarding Google’s interest:

“Why are games important to Google and to Facebook? “They’re a huge part of what people do when they’re in social networks and they are very addictive, they keep people coming back”

facebookFacebook is an interesting threat because it manages an enormous source of user data and attention and has become a comprehensive online destination.  Google on the other hand, has become a more complicated entity as they have expanded from search into news, finance, weather, online video, and mail in the last few years.

Given that Facebook  has become a hub that connects peers in an environment that contains links to daily articles, games, and interest, I am curious about Facebooks traffic trends in the future.

(In case you can’t see the article, I have an excerpt of the article below)

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Google Sees Facebook Threat in String of Deals

At Issue: Can a Company Built for Efficiency Also Help People Waste Time?

by Irina Slutsky
Published: August 26, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) — Google products are efficient, slick and — as the coders say — elegant. They get you from point A to point B fast. Really fast.

But are they fun?

That’s the question for the search engine as it struggles to gain a foothold in the fast-growing and here-to-stay social web. That web isn’t marked by speed and elegance but rather by pit stops and side roads that allow people to pull over, meet new or old friends, play a game and buy souvenirs. In short, have fun.

While Google has had a mostly forgettable history in the space, from Orkut to Buzz, the company’s 2010 acquisitions indicate it’s buying the talent and technologies to make a play for social, largely through the popular social-gaming space. This month, the shopping spree added up to almost $300 million and included social-gaming company Slide and virtual currency maker Jambool, whose product is similar to Facebook Credits, and Like.com, a visual search company.

On the horizon is Google’s much-anticipated GoogleMe, a social tool the company has been building from its own platforms like Gmail and Gchat, as well as scrap parts collected during the year.

The goal? Take a bite out of Facebook’s momentum.

“They got a couple of companies that have real estate inside of Facebook,” said Chris Cunningham, CEO of Appssavvy, a firm that pairs marketers with app developers. “With these acquisitions they got some intel and some momentum. Even though Google doesn’t have a relationship with Facebook, it does have a $100 million investment in Zynga, the most powerful social gaming company online and creator of Farmville and Mafia Wars. Google is putting its chips on the table and it has ability to build its own identity around social gaming.”

Threat to search
Why are games important to Google and to Facebook? “They’re a huge part of what people do when they’re in social networks and they are very addictive, they keep people coming back,” said Debra Williamson, social network analyst at eMarketer. Nielsen data show Americans spend 906 million hours a month inside of social networks and 407 million hours a month gaming. Compare that to 138 million hours a month searching and it’s clear why Google is gobbling up start-ups like Pac Man chasing ghosts.

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