Facebook & Google: When will the disrupters be disrupted?

google vs facebook

I often ask people what sort of company some of the top players in tech are: Google & Facebook.

For Google, the most common responses include search, email, & advertising. Facebook is usually described as social & advertising. These responses are all valid, however I almost never hear the single word that encompasses all of these products… data. Bigdata. Now I know this is becoming increasingly obvious to everyone but the collection of data is what tech is all about. It’s about great products too (ones enhanced by data), but those free products are the candy to get you to pay with your data.

So what makes for an easily disrupted industry? A single revenue source or a method of delivery being the barrier to entry are two characteristics that make a company or industry vulnerable to a major disruption. The latter is why Google is in a better position than many of it’s advertising competitors. Though Google falls victim to the first condition (as does most of the freemium world), revenue is still tied to the data.

Whoever has the most and best data should make the most money.

Why is Google harder to disrupt than Facebook? Their product scope accommodates data mining and collection on multiple access layers. Facebook although unarguably the biggest social network on earth, is just that. A social network. They don’t have any reach into the physical or network layers meaning they are left in the dark on some potentially very valuable data. Google on the other hand is a major cross layer player.

In addition to all of it’s web products, Google also sports Android, Chrome, Google Fiber, & Google TV.

Android owns a whopping 59% market share of smartphones, far outpacing Apple iOS who owns only 23% of the market. Blackberry has plummeted to a mere 6.4% after losing much of the enterprise market to Apple. Sorry RIMM, Apple’s products are sexier.

Two weeks ago, Google Chrome became more widely used than Internet Explorer. I have to admit, if three years ago someone told me that was going to happen I would have been a bit skeptical. Google did it though so many props to their team.

It’s too early to see what Google Fiber and Google TV are going to do, but Google is definitely in the market early on both counts.

By utilizing a diversified & layered product offering, it becomes more difficult to avoid using a Google product.

If they are able to bring similar adoption and success to their Google TV and Google Fiber products, Google will continue to be a really tough company to disrupt.


Brian Rossi is a web architect and entrepreneur. Brian loves scalable architectures, small business development, tech startups, big data, mobile payments, social web, branding, & user experience.

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