Facebook is stuck in the past, says Google’s Horowitz

Facebook is stuck in the past, says Google’s Horowitz

A Google executive has slammed Facebook, saying it is the social network of the past and that its current advertising system doesn’t really work.

According to Business Insider, Bradley Horowitz, vice president of the search giant’s social networking product Google+, said Facebook is incompatible with the real world and fails to cater to what users really want, which is real conversations with a group of friends without involving everyone.

“In designing Google+, we keep thinking about the real world, the way people actually are. We’re trying to make a product that’s ergonomic for the way our attention is wired,” Horowitz said during a Business Insider conference in New York.

He also criticised the way Facebook manages its advertising system, comparing the ads in the social’s network news feed to a sandwich board which isn’t very effective.

“Jamming ads and agendas into user streams is pissing off users and frustrating brands too. That’s not the way the world works,” he said.

As an alternative, Horowitz pointed to the system used in Google+, which shows social recommendations rather than ads, so that if you search for a product – say, a restaurant – you can see which ones your friends recommend. 

“It turns out these are very valuable to users to have recommendations by the people they trust. Instead of sandwich boards… we revert back to the fundamentals of fulfilling the need the user has,” he said.

Google has tried social networking in the past with the disastrous Buzz introduced in 2010. It was quickly abandoned in favour of Google+, which is designed around “circles” that allow users to group their social sphere into different categories. The firm said in September that 100 million people are using Google+ each month, and said it now has 400 million total users.

Meanwhile, since its overhyped $100 billion flotation in May, Facebook has struggled to stop its share price falling by nearly 50 per cent, amid concerns that the social network was losing advertising revenue on its website. However, last month the company announced better-than-expected growth in its mobile advertising, revealing that it made $150 million (£94 million) from mobile ads in the last three months.

Some analysts predict Facebook could use the data it collects on the site to expand into search, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg even admitting at a conference earlier this year that the firm is “pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of questions people have”.

Horowitz, however, dismissed the prediction, saying “it turns out to be pretty hard” to make a search engine. 

Image Credit: Flickr (The Next Web)

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