Google+ and Facebook get in the ring

Posted by Starr Keshet



Google+ and Facebook are slugging it out like two bloodied prizefighters in a virtual social networking ring. The latest incident?

Google+ rep Vic Gundotra publicly claimed Mountain View was "getting reports" about + invites "not showing up on Facebook news feeds anymore."

"I wonder how widespread this problem is?" Gundotra asked rhetorically.



Well, so are a lot of Facebook users - many of whom were unable to replicate Gundotra's experience with blocked + invites. 

For its part, Facebook responded to Gundotra's accusation with an official denial.

"We have seen the video but have been unable to replicate the experience it shows. Newsfeed is an automated system that is designed to deliver the most relevant content to you and your friends. The technology evaluates hundreds of factors, including your relationship to the poster, the type of content, the click-through rate (where appropriate), and people hiding similar posts from their feed," a Facebook spokesperson told ZDNet.

"In real time, it decides what to display to you and what to filter for both Top News and Most Recent. It also includes systems that attempt to identify and block spam. Links have a history of the most abuse and are given the most scrutiny. As a result of all of these factors, a given link may be shown or filtered to people differently at different times."



Of course, Facebook and Google+ have been jockeying for position since Mountain View launched its own social networking platform just a few months ago.

Google+ currently claims approximately 25 million users, while the veteran Facebook boasts 750 million.

Understandably, Facebook continues to maintain a rather patronizing posture towards Google+, a strategy highlighted by Sean Ryan, director of game partnerships, who unceremoniously snubbed Mountain View during a recent conference.

Comparing the revenue-sharing models of the two companies, Ryan stated that Facebook currently takes 30% of a game's revenues, while Google+ snaps up a mere 5%.


"Google is at 5 percent because they don't have any users," he claimed.



Ouch.

Anyone hoping for a decisive knockout in the fight between the two industry heavyweights will be sorely disappointed.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Google+ and Facebook are likely to engage in a quiet, yet deadly, war of attrition for years, which will feature mutual poaching, complex PR campaigns and verbal sniping. 



Fortunately, users of both social networking sites will benefit from the heightened competition as the two attempt to roll out new features at a frenetic pace.