Okay, so that might be a little bit of grandstanding but it definitely should summarize the feeling that Netflix execs had after finding out that The Dark Knight would be for rent on Facebook for $3.
So far no one has the user base or front runner status to challenge Netflix. Blockbuster is wilting, Redbox has the old convenience issues, and cost limits Apple’s store on iTunes for breaking into the market.
Facebook could change that. In a growing example of how it will expand its business, they’re trying movie rentals. Obviously this is a new realm for them but it won’t be the last. Netflix might seem like a big fish to fry, but I think this also might serve as a warning shot to another bigger fish. It also might signal an ability to mount a challenge to Google’s established web dominance. The two companies are so big they already are rubbing shoulders. But what remains to be seen is how long those moments of peaceful coexistence last. Eventually Facebook will challenge Google in a more direct area of revenue stream and then the gloves come off.
I think Google’s early adoption of social media as a algorithm factor indicates a desire to keep Facebook as a subsidiary in internet hierarchy. If it didn’t, Facebook might have become a better method for users to gather information about businesses, places of interest, and social events. That’s a lot of advertising dollars that Google wants. By using social media elements they jump out in front Facebook again, since that information is no longer internalized to the ‘Social Network’.
Believe me, the day is coming where Google will have to face off with Facebook. I for one feel that social media as an algorithm factor is not a very good quality generator of the type of information I want from Google. My friends are my friends, and too many crappy marketers are spamming Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn in bulk for their information to be a good indicator of what I want to see- its the new content farm. I think Charlie Sheen is a perfect example- too much promotion of this guy’s nutjob rants makes him the only thing we can easily find and read about. Not that I want to, just that all of the indicators seem to show that he is the most important man on earth and thus, that is what is put before me. The advantage to a private or more limited social network is that I can evaluate the individual making recommendations for similarity of likes (both on and offline) and take their reviews or information with a better sense of knowledge. If I want a recommendation for a good place to eat in Los Angeles, I might turn to my social media in LA to find someone I trust to make that recommendation.
Google hasn’t gotten full access to your social circles yet, but its going to try. If Facebook is watching and planning (and you better believe they are), they’ll be looking for ways to exclude the Goog from that hugely valuable information.
Google wants people to come to it for every bit of information that they need. And Facebook wants the money making segments of that information hunt- what you’re doing, what you eat, what you watch, where you go, where you live, etc… Its inevitable that these two hungry hungry hippos will be vying for a more and more divvied up feeding ground. The two will throw punches.