Google+ is neither a clone of Facebook nor an expanded version of Twitter. When Google+ was launched at the end of June, a vast majority of detractors pointed out an attempt to compete with Facebook and Twitter directly. But, those three giant internet leaders are not simple competitors, their success is based on unique business models that aim to be sustainable. What makes a sustainable competitive advantage?
- Simon Sinek’s theory: The Golden Circle codifies what makes, or not, organizations successful and influential
- VRIO theory of strategic management formulates a firm to be:
- Valuable – When resources are a source of competitive advantage
- Rare – When resources provide a unique competitive advantage to the firm as compared to the competing firms
- Inimitable – When competing firms cannot easily copy resources that are sources of sustained competitive advantage
- Organized – When the firm’s organization is capable of exploiting the resources
The Golden Circle
|Social Network||Social networking services: photos, notifications, message, groups…||To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected||x||x||x|
|Microblogging platform||Microblogging services that support live access to information||To help users discover the information that matters most to them as quickly as possible||x||x||x|
|Google+||Internet search engine||Social networking services that serve a unique and powerful search algorithm||To organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful||x||x||x||x|
- V– Facebook, Twitter and Google+ business models are valuable since they gather millions of users. Also, those user-generated content sites have reached a scale that definitely attracts the attention of users and advertisers.
- R– They are rare because their success is remarkably uncommon, filling needs that most people didn’t even know they had: emails, instant messaging, micro-blogging, photo sharing and more.
- O– They are well-organized because their notoriety has attracted some of the most talented web experts and creative people, they belong to the largest IT companies in the world, and they always keep innovating…
- I– Facebook and Twitter’s websites are not rocket science; the technological barrier to entry is low. There’s not much difference with Google+ from a technological point of view, but I believe Google+ is the only platform which is hardly imitable, because it serves Google’s overall strategy. It’s been more than 10 years that Google has based its model on improving web page indexing and refining users’ search experience. Google’s final goal is to make users happy by providing them with most relevant results to their specific searches.
The growing battle for social search
As part of its ongoing Google+ launch, Google positions itself as a fully integrated solution to best answer users’ needs by:
- integrating its own social features into a search engine: +1 button
- removing other social search: Google hasn’t indexed tweets into real-time search results since July 4th:
- and finally announcing Google’s Realtime Search to return!
What does this mean? As the main search engine, Google has the power to change the rules of the game; and the other social players are as innovative as possible to remain in the race:
- Twitter bets on its realtime attributes to attract influencers and key opinion leaders.
- Facebook is working on Facebook Editions to participate in the news battle, by signing partnerships with top media sites.