Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Google vs. Microsofskypebook: The battle of virtual worlds

Photo by Frankie Sanchez.
Photo by Frankie Sanchez.

We all see how digital technologies become pervasive in everybody’s world. They have changed how we communicate, how we work, how we study and even how we express our feelings. Nothing is more distant now than the idea of technology as something  artificial in opposition to humane or natural. Now a”lol” or a “:(“ are the deepest and timeliest ways to express our sentiments for someone out of our reach in that “moment of truth.” Then, the sales come, and we, belatedly, realize that all this is happening because of us. Yet, we do not understand how our puppeteers do it.

Well, these last days have been thrilling in the race to conquer the virtual world. Facebook, Skype and Microsoft are joining forces to counter the seemingly omnipotence of Google. This time, they aim to the head and some expect that the giant will tumble. It has become a Shakespearean tragedy in which everybody has something to say, from us to our professors and from Bill Gates to grandma.

Dr.  Nick  Gerlich,  head  of  the  department of Management, Marketing and General Business, is passionate about  the  topic.  In fact, Dr. Gerlich teaches using blog posts, where the new releases of Apple and the rivalry between Facebook and Google are a common delight of participants.

He is a Facebook supporter. “When Facebook can make search, not only social networking, then they will kill Google”, Gerlich said.

And that is exactly what is about to happen. Microsoft already has 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. Now, according to a new agreement, the users of its search engine, Bing, will be able to personalize their search according to their friend list in Facebook. Thus, when those friends say “I like” in Facebook that will be taken into account in the search of, let us say, a restaurant or a new digital gadget. If we consider that 50 percent of people take decisions after listen to their friends’ comments, we can bet that Google felt chills after the announcement.

The agreement includes rights for Microsoft to access friends, photos and all public information of Facebook users: us. Both companies said that they will be able to deactivate that option. One benefit for users is that it will be easier to find an old friend by his or her name because the engine will give priority to results with names of people using similar social networks.

Dr. Gerlich highlights two key factors in the industry: search power and social networks. Google, thanks to its better and faster results provided by a unique, mathematical algorithm is the leader in searches with 66 percent of market share versus 17 percent of Yahoo and 11percent of Bing. However, Microsoft, relying on the power of Facebook’s social networks is opening a new battle field in which Google has not felt comfortable. Google’s Wave and Buzz have not had the appeal to generate social networks like Facebook.

“People will stay with what they’ve done,” Dustin Hume, senior CIS major, said.

Regarding Myspace, the successful network for artists that Google previously acquired, the common opinion is that it already reached its top.

“You wouldn’t  say that you’re in myspace anymore,”junior CIS major,  Nick Hopkins said.

But there is a third factor playing a remarkable role: Mobility. Microsoft launched its Windows 7 Phone after 2 years of development. In the battle field the Google’s Android made by Motorola and the Apple’s iPhone made by the Taiwanese company HTC are ready for combat.

“Google is poised to dominate the mobile market,” Dr. Gerlich said.

However, the Windows phone will cost $199.99 if purchased under the AT&T and T-Mobile two-year contracts. And Microsoft is starting from a market share of 5 percent, not that far from the Android’s 17percent and  iPhone’s 14 percent . But an estimate of 80 percent of cell phone users do not have a smart phone yet. Google, in turn, is looking for developing markets like India to increase sales massively and get cheaper providers of handsets.

The low kick to Google came after some experts predict that AOL wants to buy Yahoo which already has a 40 percent stake in Alibaba, the giant Chinese company specialized in business-to-business. The problem is that the market capitalization of Yahoo is almost 10 times that of AOL. Therefore, to make the purchase, Yahoo has to sell back its shares to Alibaba. But Alibaba gives Yahoo a big part of its current capitalization. All this movement aims to get a better position in the online marketing war against Google.

But Google knows about low kicks. Months ago, Motorola, the Android manufacturer closed deals with Baidu and Bing to run them as its search engines by default. Loyalty is not a common word in the arena as it was not in the Shakespearean tragedies.

To top it off, another announcement this week said that Facebook, with 500 million users and Skype with 560 million contacts, will integrate their contact lists and comments on the wall, so users can say “I like” from Skype and send text messages and call friends from Facebook. Skype will soon offer group video calls too. Does this mean that we will use Facebook for anything we need on Internet? That is what some of us thought about Google a year ago. The last straw for

Google is that according to the Glassdoor’s report, they are not the company with the most satisfied employees. Now it is Facebook. They explain that if last year they were first its because not all Facebook’s employees answered the survey.
Despite appearances, it is not the beginning of the end for Google. While Facebook is the entertainment center, Google remains a productive hub that integrates information and office applications.  You might not make many friends with Google, but you will not be very productive relying on your Facebook account either. Actually, I bet Mark Zuckerberg would not have been able to develop Facebook if something similar was available for him to waste his time. Don’t you think?

Let us know what you think! E-mail us at [email protected] or retweet us.

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