05.08.08

The Value of Facebook, Techmeme, or any Other Scoble Favorite

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Responses, Search Engines, Technology News, Yahoo at 12:00 am by Brandon Wirtz

Microsoft is moving on to Facebook.  Poor MSFT what are you thinking?  Facebook isn’t getting rich on it’s ad strategy.  If it was it wouldn’t have wanted your money the last time you invested in them.  If you are shopping to compete with GOOG then quit looking at big players that aren’t competing, and start looking at little players who might if they had the money.

Despite agreeing with Scoble on the idea that the Google Model’s days are numbered, it is not because Social Sites like Facebook are going to replace them, it is because eventually people are not going to need to go looking, the tools will just know what you want.

I have been working on a Techmeme Style product that works off of your OPML file.  Anyone can have their own Meme, bought the domain it is practically ready to launch.  Only trouble, the CPU requirements are HUGE.  Maybe I’ll convert it to run on Google’s servers….  Oh wait that makes Google Relevant again.

Robert is right the current model will become more like Techmeme and more like Mahalo.com and more like FaceBook… But Google is not going to sit there and do nothing.  Google adapts and grows.

I can see all of the pieces being made ready to jump on any of us that are testing the waters, after WE figure out what works.  Google doesn’t need to have a finished product just enough beta bits to make sure that whatever models start to look like they could work can be crushed.

Insert your favorite explicative, Google can crush me at any moment just by de-listing me, same for Mahalo.  If Google said, "Hey Jason Calacanis your site is just a very pretty splog, or at least that is what we are going to claim so our stocks don’t fall on news that Techmeme’s crowd says you’re going to crush us in 3 years"  well Mahalo revenue would drop 80% over night and the 3 years that it takes to recoup the cost of a post would now take 15.  That would end the butt kicking.

I just found out about Google "Sets"  which looks a lot like what I have been talking about for the last 3 months with figuring out what a set of words category is, so that you can tune the results contextually.  If I know that the last 100 searches you did were about food, I know a Chili Dog is just a Chili Dog.  If the last 100 searches you did were X rated I know that you are looking for something a bit grosser.

This is just one of the pieces that form the Lego’s that Google is building.  And it is one of the public ones, we don’t get to see the ones they don’t care to share.  Matt Cutts only tells us what it is in Google’s interest to tell us.

If you read my "rant" about Greatest Living American, you start to get where I’m going with this.  This week the "right answer" to who is the Greatest Living American is "Brandon Wirtz" or "Steven Colbert".  That is the only time it should be this.  If my mom gives her 3rd graders the task of writing an essay on who they think the Greatest Living American is you don’t want them to write about Perry Como, Night of the Living Dead, or How to make grilled cheese because they used Mahalo.  And I don’t want them to say it is me because they used Google And really Norman Borlaug may not be the "right" answer but it is the only answer I could find that wasn’t me or Steven.

Results that are free from the possibility of manipulation is part of the future of search.  Results that are contextually relevant to the searcher is part of the future of search.  Results that are contextually relevant to the events of the moment are part of the future of search.

When Oprah has someone on her show for the next 12 hours a perfect search engine would know that 90% of the people looking for that person wants to know about that person "through" Oprah.  Similarly when "Don’t forget the Lyrics" is on searches for things that look very similar to words from a song are about a song, not about what ever the words are about.  "Feet Down Below His Knee" is not about how one sprints, or trousers  (isayhello gets this wrong too since I don’t have a large enough Lyric library to reference, but I get it right with a YouTube video).

Google Is starting to get this, as Two days ago above search results for Greatest Living American was a link to CNN’s article about the Colbert Webby.  All of the points that I and Scoble make about the future of search, and what our "Dashboards for Life" will look like Google is building.

The people who aren’t getting this seemingly is Microsoft.  They are in such a race to show they get it by cutting a check they are missing all of the small innovative companies that are making it work.  I would encourage MSFT to buy Mahalo.  (Jason if they cut you a check for $300 million  I want 1% for putting the idea out there)  Because Mahalo brings a piece of the Pie that is needed, Human summarized results.  There is not enough CPU or a large enough database to classify things the way an army of volunteers/cheap labor can.  Mahalo can take the 100 things each hour that people are looking for, and sort them, compile a headline, and find the source of the trend in record time, and if MSFT wants me to use Live.com as a Landing page that is part of what they need.

If Microsoft wants to by Techmeme, I would root them on. Gabe Rivera has proven that he can create Meme’s for various subjects, and I’m sure if someone paid him he could create 300 Meme’s that fit personality profiles for 80% of the people out there, and that would make them happy to start their day on a Microsoft site, and you know what most of those people’s search results could be filtered through the sites in their Meme.

I’m sorry I don’t support the Facebook buy.  They just don’t know how to make people happy. I thought Facebook Apps had potential, but they are all such time wasters.  I really wanted to like them.  Stack on that Facebook doesn’t really know how to monetize their users, and I don’t see anything in Facebook that isn’t in LinkedIn.  If LinkedIn goes the way of Facebook, I’m dropping it.

This is a response to:

Anders Bylund: Microsoft is probing Facebook’s merger interest

SmoothSpan Blog: Is Microsoft Playing Possum for Yahoo? It Could Be Much Worse!

Jim Goldman: Microsoft’s About Face With Facebook—Is It In Writing?

MG Siegler: The Microsoft buying Facebook rumors commence, again

Joel Evans: Is Microsoft still shopping?

Nicholas Carlson: Microsoft’s plan for Web growth, minus Yahoo and Facebook

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