Race For The “Places”: Goggle vs. Facebook vs. Twitter

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The Social media industry has a new agenda, that of scaling up to next generation computation. The nature of the industry itself implies that a relatively small number of players control the global social networking eco system and this is leading to a vigorous battle on this front.. Google has been pinched by the core due to enormous rise of Facebook and company barely has anything in hand which can encounter such situation, besides being just a spectator; atleast for now.

On Wednesday Facebook announced another initiative called “Facebook Places” which allows users to disclose their physical location to their friends & relatives. It paves the way for the start-up to become a player in the growing Web business of supplying local information and advertising. However, company has been questioned for their privacy issues which is inherited with the new initiate.

The rollout of Facebook Places follows the launch of quite similar feature by Google and Twitter just few months back. Google Places, based on prior Google business listing, offers web Pages dedicated to local businesses, showing where they are located, street-wide maps and images, and customers reviews of their services and products, be it saloon shop or small restaurant at a corner. Businesses also allowed to advertise through such pages.

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With location based service, all three companies are encouraging businesses to open up as much as possible, whether its school, park or some small shop around the street. And all three want businesses to advertise online and potentially target ads in real-time to users of mobile devices, right where they are. while Twitter is still enhancing “Places” to ensure better mean of it service, Facebook and Google is leveraging on existing network and existing business model to ensure best of business.

The launch of Facebook Places ratchest the competition between companies. Unfortunately Google, which is thrived by selling its ads along side of internet search results, is still scrambling to develop a secret social networking like website (Google Me to rival Facebook. People on Facebook may rely more on their friends and known network contacts to disclose their physical location compare to anonymous search results of Google. That’s where Facebook leaps ahead with the real objective and “Places”.

Why So Much Focus on “Places”

whether it is Google, Facebook or Twitter, companies have already sensed a big chunk of revenue from local ad which can be reserved only through local reach and presence. Through Places businesses can publicize their services and products to most relevant buyers while potential buyers can reach to nearby businesses easily. So far, only a fraction of local businesses advertise online. But in an interview Wednesday Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called the local market a “big space.”

Overall, small and medium-sized businesses with 100 or fewer employees spent $35 billion to $40 billion in all forms of local advertising in the U.S. in 2009, estimates BIA/Kelsey, a local-media advisory firm. Matthew Booth, a senior vice president at BIA/Kelsey, estimates that about 1.2 million small businesses in the U.S. already pay Google to appear in text ads alongside Internet search results. The Asian market is at the very early stage but gradually gaining momentum towards such services adoption.

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Current Scenario of “Places”

Google, which for years has been amassing business listings, says more than four million businesses have a Place page and “thousands” have paid to have their listing highlighted in search queries and maps for about $1 a day, according to Mr. Hanke. He added that about 20% of Google search queries focused on local places. More than 10 billion search queries were executed through Google last month, according to comScore Inc.

Now Facebook is asking businesses to create a Place page on its site and is encouraging them to advertise their products to users. In addition, Facebook is letting users “check in” at public places using their mobile phones, which can pinpoint their location through GPS () and other means. Checking in allows people to notify friends in their social network that they are at a bar, for example.

Twitter Inc., the microblogging service, earlier this year launched Twitter Places, which allows users to broadcast, or “tweet,” their location, including at businesses, to followers of their messages. Over time, the company is expected to try to line up local businesses to offer deals to users in connection with the feature.

With so many initiates and options it would be interesting to see who will manage to gain the maximum momentum and how far people will inherit the ‘places’ habit with their day-to-day life.

We would like to ask from our readers which company will manage to seal the top place with “Places”. Do let us know your views in comment section

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