Gmail creator: Google just can't compete with Facebook

By on December 22, 2010, 1:33 PM
Google has been working on a Facebook killer for many months now. Many have criticized Google's approach, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying the search giant simply does not understand social. Now, former Google employee, Gmail creator, and FriendFeed founder Paul Buchheit has come out and explained why it's so hard for the company to create a successful social network like Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.

"I'm actually rather optimistic about Google overall," Buchheit told Gawker. "The inevitable doom of ChromeOS is due in part to the huge success of Android. As for social, I expect that Google will find greater success with their self-driving car and moon landing initiatives. I think it's worth noting that the two most successful Facebook competitors, Twitter and Foursquare, were both started by people who were relatively unsuccessful at Google. The only good strategy I can see for Google is to create something fundamentally different from Facebook (like Twitter or Foursquare were), but Google probably doesn't have the right people doing that because of this problem."

When he says "this problem," Buchheit is referring to story of Dennis Crowley, who sold his check-in service Dodgeball to Google in 2005. He left the company two years later due to a lack of engineering resources. He then launched Foursquare, a virtually identical service, which has done very well in a market that Google now considers quite valuable.





User Comments: 24

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lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Is Foursquare a direct competitor to Facebook and Twitter? Not that I'm the voice of all humans, but up until now, I've never even heard of it.

freedomthinker said:

lawfer said:

Is Foursquare a direct competitor to Facebook and Twitter? Not that I'm the voice of all humans, but up until now, I've never even heard of it.

Same here

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Add me in as well, I've never heard of Foursquare?

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

What the hell is Foursquare?

Oh, nobody knows. Hmmm...

g4mer said:

lawfer said:

Is Foursquare a direct competitor to Facebook and Twitter? Not that I'm the voice of all humans, but up until now, I've never even heard of it.

Me too. They also forgot about MySpace.

Guest said:

Foursquare...Sounds like a country dance.

Google should stick to what it knows and good at, in the mean time let the facebook die off on its own.

yorro said:

I searched Foursquare. Looks like a gimmick.

Guest said:

I have never heard of it either

Guest said:

Google you make a great search engine, you have all the money in the world. You dont have to controll every aspect of computing. Let some other people start up a business and run it. You have enough already.

Guest said:

Threesquare + 1

matrix86 matrix86 said:

g4mer said:

They also forgot about MySpace.

Everyone has forgotten about Myspace, lol. That's how "successful" it is

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Everyone has forgotten about Myspace, lol. That's how "successful" it is

I actually knew about Myspace long before i found twitter (?)

I would have signed up aswell, if some douce bag hadn't nicked the Benny26 name

Guest said:

Never heard of Foursquare either.

This article must be the advertisement for Foursquare.

Guest said:

four square? i remember that being a packet of smokes......

JudaZ said:

seriously .. why cares about facebook. .... sure its big ..now .. and Mark Zuckerberg,earns a ton of money .... but more and more people seem to be getting tierd of facebook ... not checkning ther page as often , not updatting ...

even a lot of "internet names" are getting boored..

Livejournals was big, andnow is just in the background

MySpace was huge and facebook only a speck on its radar , now MySpace is just in the background

Facebook is big ... but I thing it has reached its peak ... it will also dropp or normalize and maybe even fade away when the next fad copmes along ...

some new page that is actually not new at all, a site that does nothing you couldnt do already, but "all the cool people use it" and there for so must I and then the horde of sheep will get that new thing , "because everyone has it" ...

Still dont get the point of facebook at all..

Guest said:

I have lost so many good friends who cannot receive my email attachments. Why did this happen or am I wasting $60 a month on an internet that wont work for me. Can somebody try to fix this ASAP. I know for a fact there are many disgruntled Gmail customers. Please hurry this is just as bad as a virus. Marilyn Biggera Waters

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

seriously .. why cares about facebook. .... sure its big ..now .. and Mark Zuckerberg,earns a ton of money .... but more and more people seem to be getting tierd of facebook ... not checkning ther page as often , not updatting ...

even a lot of "internet names" are getting boored..

Livejournals was big, andnow is just in the background

MySpace was huge and facebook only a speck on its radar , now MySpace is just in the background

Facebook is big ... but I thing it has reached its peak ... it will also dropp or normalize and maybe even fade away when the next fad copmes along ...

some new page that is actually not new at all, a site that does nothing you couldnt do already, but "all the cool people use it" and there for so must I and then the horde of sheep will get that new thing , "because everyone has it" ...

Still dont get the point of facebook at all..

BRAVO JudaZ!! Facebook, Twitter, Myspace et al are designed for TRIVAL chat and who cares information swapped between kids (age is insignificant)

Google is the primo search engine on the Internet and AskJeeves, Yahoo, Bing et al are all insignificant players.

Hit count on a website is not the same as usefull, actionable information.

reminds me of the adage

Figures don't lie but liars can still figure

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

IMO Google simply doesn't have 'right mindset' when it comes to incorporating 'social' element in their offerings, i.e. why I believe Google's long term future as prime search provider 'may' be challenging. Static search results which Google provides can go only that far. Hence, advertising being the fundamental source of their revenue stream can also suffer as a result. I sincerely 'despise' what F***book is but frankly I see the appeal of their idea, and if someone can 'come up with right mix of both of these worlds' can give them both a pretty damn good run for their money.

@Jo

Other players are insignificant because they were 'pretty much asleep' (especially Yahoo and MS) and let Google become what it has without any significant competition. Otherwise, difference between search results is generally 'insignificant'. I would love to see some competition in this arena, because Google has started suffering from 'innovative constipation' except for the bright spark of Android in recent years (well it was an 'acquisition' but still it counts ...... ).

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

IMO Google simply doesn't have 'right mindset' when it comes to incorporating 'social' element in their offerings,
My point is Social Networking is not in the same ballpark as Search Engines, so the whole topic Google just can't compete with Facebook is an oxymoron and not comparing apples to apples.

Kids love that stuff, but has no serious content for the Internet community. Heck, Techspot offers more than FB ever will

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

But my focus is not the 'learned internet community' because is a very 'small fraction' of internet users, I was rather pointing at 'ordinary users' who make up vast majority of internet users, and as internet make progress towards more and more online trading as such, social (e.g. marketing) element of things will come into play.

Heck, Techspot offers more than FB ever will

Okay, that kinda kills the argument hehe

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

On Google's home page (which many use as their PC home page ), there are a list of services offered:

Images Videos Maps News Shopping Gmail Books Finance Translate Scholar Blogs Realtime YouTube Calendar Photos Documents Reader Sites Groups

and today, Google announced the advent of a News Stand for your Smartphone

FB vs Goolge is like McGuffey's Reader to the Encyclopida Britanica

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Only useful thing over there is Maps, rest of the things aren't upto mark in my view; and I never believe in news dished out by single source, I like to form my own opinion so that means I usually end up having to go through several news sources. Also I am not comparing these two for what they offer now, in their current state search or even what FB offers can only grow that much hence (including the revenue aspects). Importantly the revenue side of search (i.e. advertising) is what can get hit pretty badly due to propagation of products through social sites; which I have been pointing at all along. That is why Google is constantly trying to come up with something to compete with FB, and keep failing; yet I can't but at least admire that they are seeing the growing danger to their biggest revenue stream and trying to do something about it.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Tim Berners-Lee: Facebook poses threat to web

Nice discussion - - thank you.

Some may not recognize the name Tim Berners-Lee but this is the chap that gave us

the HTTP protocol upon which all our browsers depend. This was great addition to the Internet before that development,

which was then primarily just Goper, FTP and Email. Mr Berner's-Lee is also the founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c.org) where all the Web standards are debated and synthesized.

Tim Berners-Lee has warned that the future of the internet could be at risk from sites such as Facebook that create data 'silos' that are not accessible from other websites. Berners-Lee contends that sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn amass vast amounts of information on their users but create "silos" of data that are inaccessible from other sites. Once you enter your data into one of these services, you cannot easily use them on another site. Each site is a silo, walled off from the others. Yes, your site's pages are on the web, but your data is not...Connections among data exist only within a site. So the more you enter, the more you become locked in," he wrote.

The Semantic Web is a design that was intended in the early hours of the WWW development, but which needed sufficient primatives to begin that work. Today, you may recognize XML as a data stream that does exactly that - - describes a data stream in a manner that it can be processed by new applications.

Mr. Berner's-Lee' quote above draws an implication that if these silos were present before XML was delivered, then significat information would have been locked into the silos and things like video streaming would have been easily preempted.

Yes, the kids just love FB, but by its very nature, those pages are very limited in both content and the ability to be reused (ie: extensibility) both of which are important to future software development.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Very fair points, but only backed me up on underlying argument of my idea in an implicit way, I think some time in future (FB's phenomenal growth starts to slow down) and as search market is pretty stagnant; there will come an opportunity for someone who adheres to Open Web and offers a right mix of both services but in an improved form. It is an another debate whether FB or Google will remain relevant at that point, names as such are meaningless for me, new brands appear and die dictated by the prevailing facts/conditions of the market.

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