With Facebook launching the Skype video chat feature as a quick response to the Google + launch with Video hangout provision, the media was agog with speculation on who will win the social networking battle. The timing of the battle and its outcome becomes increasingly critical in view of Facebook’s impending IPO expected to be launched early next year.
At a recent auction at Sharespost Facebook shares changed hands at $35 a share indicating a valuation of $80 billion after it filed for an IPO and news of growth stagnation hit the market. However Mark Zuckerberg on being questioned about competition and future Facebook growth in view of trends of peaking in the US markets had a different take.
The Facebook CEO said that with 750 million users, the active user growth was no longer a metric which was relevant for Facebook. Rather Facebook was concentrating more on developing the share platform that it has created and its users have today pushed up to an astronomical 4 billion items shared per day.
As per Zuckerberg, he was the provider of infrastructure for social network. He welcomed independent product or service companies like Skype, Zynga, CrowdStar, Groupon, or any other who would use his infrastructure for display and earn revenue.
This meant that Facebook which has a massive lead in user time spent at over 6 hours compared to2 hours of its rivals, was primarily focused on increased user interaction and not overly concerned about its footprint expansion like Google.
Looking at the two video services provided by Facebook and Google + one can perhaps make out their core approach and focus. Whereas Google hangout looks apparently more suited for group chats and is free, the Skype on Facebook is free primarily for one to one chat. For Group chats Skype will charge $4.99 per month for any one user, which ultimately may not be popular on Facebook unless big brands plan to use such services on their fan pages.
Thus if the time spent by any person interacting through hangout with 9 friends on Google + for an hour is 10 person hours, on Facebook Skype video chat the person is likely to spend 20 hours for the same amount of interaction because it will be one to one .
The Facebook focus has helped increase the advertisement dollars as the viewer engagement and social trust is high. Its users have started social buying based on this info share mentality that affects their purchase decisions.
So while “Google search” philosophy is to spread its network far and wide in search of the best products, the “Facebook share” philosophy is to keep the user snug and comfortable within the web of Facebook friends that will share such product info.