Social Networking Wars 2011: Everyone Cutting Off Everyone Else

from the and-who-loses? dept

It seems that, with the launch of Google+, we may have seen the kickoff of the great social networking war of 2011 — with the various services trying to hold back and block data.

First off, over the weekend, some folks noticed that Google’s real-time search suddenly went dead. At first people thought it was just an error, but it later came out that it was due to the fact that Google’s deal with Twitter, wherein Twitter provided Google with a real-time firehose of Twitter data, had ended and had not been renewed. Neither side seems to be explaining much. Both gave vague statements. First Twitter (oddly, many press sources are saying the following statement is from Google, but it’s not):

Since October 2009, Twitter has provided Google with the stream of public tweets for incorporation into their real-time search product and other uses. That agreement has now expired. We continue to provide this type of access to Microsoft, Yahoo!, NTT Docomo, Yahoo! Japan and dozens of other smaller developers. And, we work with Google in many other ways.

Then Google’s first statement:

Twitter has been a valuable partner for nearly two years, and we remain open to exploring other collaborations in the future.

And then a further statement:

Since October of 2009, we have had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results through a special feed, and that agreement expired on July 2.

While we will not have access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that?s publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google.

Of course, Google had many other sources in realtime search… and they’re all wiped out too. Google has suggested that it will be relaunching it… but with Google+ as the central piece:

Our vision is to have include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources.

In other words, this looks like a bit of a standoff between two social networks.

And that’s not the only one. Another report has come out saying that Facebook is actively blocking methods that let you export your Facebook social graph into Google+. This might not be a huge deal (frankly, I don’t want to export my Facebook setup to Google+), but it does suggest another standoff.

None of this is a huge surprise, but it does highlight yet another problem of relying on any proprietary, centralized services. They can change things around, block off data, and limit what people can do. A truly open, distributed solution wouldn’t even be able to cut off anyone else or require special deals for data feeds. The real tragedy is that in blocking off access to data in both of these cases, everyone loses by having fewer options and less ability to make use of data. Who knows who’s at fault in the first one (or perhaps it’s both parties), but all these skirmishes may also call more attention to Google’s market power. If it comes out that Google was the one who decided not to re-up, and that it’s planning to use Google+ instead of Twitter, you can see how the “Google is a monopoly!” brigade will go nuts.

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Companies: facebook, google, twitter

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Comments on “Social Networking Wars 2011: Everyone Cutting Off Everyone Else”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Google has every right not to put competing data on its search engines. There should be nothing illegal about it. If Microsoft (which has an equally large monopoly on operating systems) or Time Warner Cable (a company that benefits from government established monopolies) or AT&T (a company with little competition in the LAN Line Business) or just about any other company did something similar, even within their specific industry that they practically have a monopoly on, law enforcement wouldn’t blink an eye. But when Google does it …

Mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

All of those companies have already been investigated, and probably will be again. Success breeds regulation.

However, I hope Microsoft is severely sanctioned for it’s non-competitive practice of pushing license agreements on every manufacturer who uses Android, while being unwilling to tell what patents are being “infringed”. This is extremely unethical, regardless of it’s legality.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Key Point

A truly open, distributed solution wouldn’t even be able to cut off anyone

Reminds me of a talk by the guy behind the Freedom Box, where he described the future of social networking as being away from systems that have you give your personal data to central authorities like Facebook and Google+, but where each individual runs software on their own machine (such as the Freedom Box) that only distributes their data as they see fit.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: The Business of Business

I’m not so sure about the “sucking them dry” part. The smartest businesses seem to be the ones that avoid sucking their customers dry, so that they can keep them around indefinitely.

In any case, the same thing doesn’t really apply to social networks, because the users are not really the customers. The customers are the advertisers, so the goal is to increase the size and demographic desirability of your user base so you can charge higher ad rates. That’s what makes them panic and try to block off competitors for fear of a mass exodus. But in reality, they would probably be smarter to open everything up and try to court users with features and experience, instead of trying to trap them, which is a short-term solution at best.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The Business of Business

I agree that advertisers are the customers, and maybe currently their biggest customer. However, their biggest customer will and should be the USG.

All of that info on you and your friends will be put to good use… keeping us safe from the enemy. It will also be helpful to send out public service announcements, so that everyone will know what to do and how to act.

How about automatically tagging photos? Well here you go…

Hopefully we will soon be able to know exactly where everyone is and was at all times. A crime free utopia if you ask me.

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