The war is still on..

Wow.. just when Facebook thought that no matter how many products, its rival, Google comes up with – Google Wave, Google Buzz – no one can challenge the dominance of the organization, set up by Mark Zuckerburg merely in his 20s, Google came up with a product which created a never before like stir in the market – Google Plus.

With Google plus, the search engine genius has been lucky finally in its third attempt creating visibility in the Social Media scene. Earlier two attempts – Google wave could not create any ripples, let alone gigantic waves and as they say Google buzz didn’t quite buzz. But Google plus is different. Somehow it feels right!!

Especially seeing the circles and how easy it is to create them, gave me a huge sense of relief, “organized-ness” and protection. On FB, I would rather not post some updates or some thoughts that I just wanted to blurt out fearing that an unintended person would read it. And.. here comes Google plus.

The wall looks nice and clear. Another, great thing about Google+, it connects with my other Google applications instantly like GTalk, Picasa, etc. It gives me the feeling of completeness because I need not go or rather login to any other site for my personal stuff. I guess this was the prime idea behind Google wave, to integrate all Google apps at one place.. but that didn’t quite work for some reason.

A very interesting case is that FB is deleting/blocking accounts of people putting ads of their Google plus profiles on FB. (which reminds me that my own WordPress account is linked to FB 😛 ). Clearly, the street smart Zuckerburg isn’t taking the Google Plus threat lying down. And why not, in its first month (not even 30 days precisely), Google+ surpasses 10 million users and the +1 button has already been added to more sites than the “tweet this” button.

So far, the social media market has just one major player and some tiny ones (Orkut, MySpace, etc.), which led to FB bending the rules of the industry. In a recent interview Mark Zuckerberg had said that the age of privacy is over in social media. That is quite an arrogant and condescending remark from the owner of the firm which creates trends in social media. However, just when FB thought that privacy is no longer important, Google plus showed them that it might be too soon to tell.

This is the beauty of competition, even the no. 1 has something to learn from the rival. In a competitive market, you have to learn and innovate everyday even if you are the leader. May be Zuckerberg is taking notes already.. after all why else does he have an account on Google plus, or wonder if that’s a fake!!

The drawbacks of Google Plus.. I think the one that I found most irritating that friends are not updated in the profiles, in my circles and vice-versa when I add them or they add me. I do get a mail intimating me that they have added me but I can’t see them on my profile.That is a huge one if you would ask me! Rest looks neat so far, just waiting for all my friends to join Google plus.

Its too soon to tell who’s gonna win but Google plus definitely had a stunning start and Facebook can’t help but stand up and notice. In terms of number, FB does have the advantage which can be used as a strength in future strategies.

Another interesting observation after the launch of Google Plus, since October 2009 Google had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in search results through a special feed – Google Real Time. But after that agreement expired on July 2 2011, Google is no longer interested to renew it, to promote its own Google Plus updates. Interesting case of forward integration in social media.

The war just got bigger and better..would be an interesting watch!

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The lost human “touch”!!

Reading about the new high tech gadgets and devices that are going to come out in the year 2010, I had mixed feelings. I have always liked to read reviews and watch the pictures of new gadgets, coming out frequently. And dream of owning one or the other of these devices.

The rate at which innovation is happenning in modern times is truly amazing. We seem to be going ahead by leaps and bounds as each year passes.

e-book readers seem to be the new wave of the season; completely erasing the necessity of carrying a volumnious book with you all the time. The plus points are portability, readability of screens even in bright sunlight,and long battery life. A fab invention after the i-pod. Reading from cute netbooks and colorful laptops is nothing new; but a little device meant for reading your favorite novel on the go is really exciting.

3D technology is also making an entry into the commerical market this year. Movies like Avatar and Walt Disney’s ToyStory2 and earlier flicks are already out. Soon, we would be watching TV with those 3D glasses and getting a feel of being inside the TV screen physically.

The internet and social computing have already resulted in the creation of a huge virtual world, with its large pool of “netizens”. Thanks to facebook, we can poke our friends even when they are sitting in the remotest corner of the globe. Online games and avatars encourage us to take new personas in virtual world, unthinkable of in reality. I can be a farmer and grow crops and keep cattle on Farmville, sitting in the lanes of one of the busiest cities in the world; be a virtual don or gangster on Mafiawar with absolute clean criminal records in reality!! (LOL!!)

We have grown up to our virtual avatars to such an extent that very recently, one of my colleagues commented on my absence from FB for sometime, though we meet everyday at work. I found this amusing, somehow. No doubt FB is influencing our daily lives in a big way. From, the “Unfriend” option of FB, now declared as an official word by Oxford to recently, doing a privacy change for 350 million users worldwide!! FB is literally ruling our world. Like a SSN (Social Security No.), it has become a “Social Identity”.

However technically advanced the “Touch” technology may be, with touch phones and touch computers,  its the human touch that is losing ground.  We have become so mechanized and occupied with these gadgets that we forget to appreciate the smaller nuances of life. The human bonding, friendship and attachement, can it be found in online community or online social networking; don’t think so!!

All change is for good and perhaps its the only permanent thing in this universe. The world is actually shrinking, but the fact that its actually creating spaces between us humans, cannot be denied.

As rightly said,All of the biggest technological inventions created by man – the airplane, the automobile, the computer – says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness.”  ~Mark Kennedy