Google Missed Social Wave, Schmidt Admits

In an interview with Bloomberg television on December 30, Google chairman Eric Schmidt admitted what everyone pretty much knows already: the search behemoth missed the boat on social networking and is still struggling to make up for lost time.

Schmidt told Bloomberg: “In our defense, we were busy working on many other things but we should have been in that area and I take responsibility for that.” While I am a big Schmidt fan (dork power!) I have to say this particular excuse rings a little hollow, considering all the crackpot side projects Google is famous for; yes, YouTube was a good buy and Android and Chrome are definitely winners, but I also seem to recall some very bold, very misinformed forays into print and radio ad sales, for example.

But the real barrier for Google, and anyone else trying to enter the social media market, is the challenge of creating a new social media platform that is both novel and useful enough to justify consumer interest. Any social network that is merely a stale retread of another, existing service is going to have trouble gaining traction (see Google+).



And the problems don’t end there: even established networks can suffer from the virtual human version of “sudden hive collapse,” as demonstrated by Friendster and MySpace, and the fate of Google’s own Orkut network in Brazil, and maybe now Facebook itself. Thus successful social networks will have to continue innovating -- or buying up innovation -- in order to keep up with an incredibly fickle user population, as with Facebook’s purchase of Instagram.

Happily for Google shareholders Schmidt vowed that missing the social wave is “not a mistake we’re going to make again.” So whatever that next unexpected development that no one could predict is… Google’s on it!

2 comments about "Google Missed Social Wave, Schmidt Admits".
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  1. Dave Brody from Purch, January 3, 2014 at 12:50 p.m.

    Well, let's not be too harsh on the Goog; at least, not for this. Let us instead recall a main component of the Genius of Jobs: He taught Apple to say NO! to a lot of stuff (though not always tactfully) - even promising stuff.

    Wide and deep as they are, Google should not be all things intrusive. See, they're not really good at personality: critical to the perception of safe space for social. Sometimes it's better to buy than to make - even at "G-scale."

  2. Kenneth Hittel from Ken Hittel, January 3, 2014 at 1:58 p.m.

    Well, I don't know about this: I don't want another Facebook and I don't want another Twitter. I do, however, very much like G+ for what it is. I use Twitter every day (all day!); I seldom bother with Facebook at all. I use G+ sporadically, but usefully, I believe, and am quite happy with what it enables me to do and with its features (Hangouts, in particular) and its functions.

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