The Library in Your Friend List

I don’t like talking about current events much, because they have a tendency to soon be not-so-current. But one in particular may signal the tipping point of a trend that is of extreme relevance to the way you and I find useful information.

The rumor is that Google is developing a true Facebook competitor called “Google Me.” I’m not interested in the details of whether they are, but rather the facts behind why Google needs to.

Why Google shouldn’t?

There are always the concerns when a business gets away from its core, and Google has had its share of outright bumbles. Buzz and Wave may not be great, but they aren’t horrible either. And when you’re the size of Google, you don’t pretend to live in just one box. In fact, you could say the acquisition of Youtube was brilliant, as Youtube is now the world’s number two search engine (behind the almighty G itself.) Youtube might never turn a profit, but there’s no telling how valuable the data under the surface might be.

Which brings us to the reason Google ought to be firing up a major competitor to Facebook: because Facebook may yet provide the greatest threat to Google’s core search business.

Information Stations

There was a time when a human being could carry all the world’s knowledge in his or her brain.

Then, after Gutenberg’s printing press disrupted the technology of information storage and transmission, we suddenly had more data in more places than we could possibly touch, and the paradigm for life success changed. Your success was no longer as much about what you knew, but about what you could find.

If you’re my age, you had to do a paper in junior high where you invaded the card catalog and turned in a report with a stack of index cards, to prove you’d done the research. The Research was the skill that was being graded, not so much the conclusion.

In an even more modern sense, we have Google. There are people who use Google for search, and there are people who really know how to dig down and get relevant results quickly. “Google Ninja” is not an official job description, but if you fill that role in your office your boss is loathe to fire you.

Yet Google is in danger of being bypassed by an even more useful tool: your friends. In the future, we’re not going to be successful based on what we find, but rather what our network can find for us. We’re entering an age of Human Powered Search.

The New Dynamic

In the future, when you want to know something you will first turn to your friends. Maybe not all will be full-on “friends,” but rather acquaintances with which you have a history and some context. People you have chosen to give your trust.

How many of these have you seen on Facebook or Twitter?

  • Where can I go to get a good haircut?
  • Lunch recommendations?
  • Anyone who has a daughter who can babysit my kids?
  • Does anyone know how to get the smell of vomit out of the back of an SUV?

(Don’t laugh… questions 1 and 4 have actually been posed by people I know personally.)

Dark Revelation in Mountain View

When your first stop is with your friends, you might not have a second stop. And that is what is keeping Google awake at night. Facebook does indeed represent a challenge to Google’s core business, which is search. Having read Mark Zuckerberg’s initial philosophy behind Facebook, I don’t know that he (or the ‘legitimate’ founders) had any inkling that it might lead in this direction. I don’t think Gutenberg saw that his coming information revolution would help take down the Catholic Church, either.

But you’d better think that The Church of Google does. And the Apocalypse itself would be an unholy union between Facebook and Bing – accelerating the adoption of an alternate way to find what you need.

Imagine a Bing interface that takes your query, and brings you traditional algorithm results along with the recommendations of your friends. It ports it right in. In fact, instead of giving you an instant answer, you just leave the browser tab open for a little while and let the answers percolate. A true Decision and Recommendation engine, fueled by the people you already like and trust.

So that’s why Google is thinking about Google Me. And if they aren’t, they will go down as the largest quill-maker the Earth has ever known.

[authorSTREAM id= 427469_634133999446493750 pl= player/player by= ikepigott]

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Comments

  1. Pretty smart stuff, Ike.  Well done. MC

  2. I think Google is the most likely candidate to make a next-level portal/interface/social app. My take:
    http://brandimpact.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/google-me-and-metamee/

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ike Pigott, Ike Pigott and Shannon Whitley, Gary Goldhammer. Gary Goldhammer said: Brilliant post on humans as search engines: RT @ikepigott: The REAL reason Google needs to go after Facebook | http://ike4.me/o106 [...]

  2. Shannon Whitley says:

    Great thoughts from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg – RT @ikepigott: The REAL reason Google needs to go after Facebook | http://ike4.me/o106

  3. Brilliant post on humans as search engines: RT @ikepigott: The REAL reason Google needs to go after Facebook | http://ike4.me/o106

  4. jacobpigott says:

    RT @ikepigott -The REAL reason Google needs to go after Facebook | http://ike4.me/o106 – One of the best explanantions I've read…

  5. @ikepigott always challenges my thought process…check out his latest post about the strategy behind Google Me http://ike4.me/o106

  6. Ike Pigott says:

    @elizabethsosnow – …and Google had better be doing it. http://ike4.me/o106

  7. Why Google really needs to go after Facebook. http://ike4.me/o106 via @IkePigott

  8. RT @markwschaefer: Why Google really needs to go after Facebook. http://ike4.me/o106 via @IkePigott

  9. Donna Winter says:

    RT @markwschaefer: Why Google really needs to go after Facebook. http://ike4.me/o106 via @IkePigott

  10. tangelo pro says:

    RT @markwschaefer: Why Google really needs to go after Facebook. http://ike4.me/o106 via @IkePigott

  11. Why Google really needs to go after Facebook. http://ike4.me/o106 via @IkePigott @markwschaefer @technobozo

  12. "Google is in danger of being bypassed by an even more useful tool: your friends" via @ikepigott http://bit.ly/dgqnWN

  13. Ike Pigott says:

    @technosailor – You got the gist of it, here's my expanded take: http://ike4.me/o106

  14. Ike Pigott says:

    Why Google needs to launch a preemptive strike on Facebook | http://ike4.me/o106

  15. Ike Pigott says:

    The real reason Google needs to slay Facebook | http://ike4.me/o106

  16. Adam Cohen says:

    Reading RT @ikepigott: The real reason Google needs to slay Facebook | http://ike4.me/o106

  17. Paul Gailey says:

    RT @intel_chris: Why Google really needs to go after Facebook. http://ike4.me/o106 via @IkePigott @markwschaefer @technobozo

  18. The Library in Your Friend List http://ff.im/-n0feQ

  19. Ike Pigott says:

    @roguepuppet – Funny you should say that… http://ike4.me/o106

  20. Ike Pigott says:

    @DHLasker Do check out this post, though, which peels back the curtain on my approach to Twitter: http://t.co/V9lqS85 @ginidietrich

  21. RT @ikepigott: The Library in Your Friend List http://ike4.me/o106

  22. @ikepigott I will have a look at your post regarding your approach to Twitter http://t.co/V9lqS85 @ginidietrich