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Facebook will rule messaging with WhatsApp acquisition. Google has lost

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So it’s finally happened. Facebook is acquiring WhatsApp. And it’s for a staggering $16 billion dollars. That means one thing only; Facebook is officially the king of messaging leaving rivals; – the big one being Google – in the dust. And it’s not just messaging. They have become the king of apps too generally. Facebook itself, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp form an almost complete circle of mobile apps for many people. Sharing wise, the only big app missing from that lot is probably Twitter.

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The first app you open in the morning from now own is, almost always, an app owned by Facebook. Not a Google one. Not email (well, unless you’re an oldie). Not Hangouts.

There are non-Google app, exceptions ofcourse. Like Twitter for example. But truth be told, if you’re in a country like mine (Zimbabwe), Twitter matters to a much less audience than WhatsApp and Facebook. If WhatsApp is a 10, Twitter would somewhere around 0.1. or below.

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But enough about the Twitter comparison. Where does Google fall into the acquisition development itself. They fall. At least in terms of people connections and messaging. Google Talk, or hangouts as its now known, is a distant second now. Even third if we include Facebook Messenger. And that’s not because people love hangouts, it’s really because of its artificial integration to Android, Gmail and Google+. Using it myself, I very much feel I’m on the old desktop app, cobbled together to remain relevant in a mobile messaging world.

Google knows these realities too. It’s no secret they wanted WhatsApp too at least. So much they were willing to pay just to be told what was going on acquisition wise.

Why WhatsApp is happier with Facebook than Google can only be a speculation. One that will likely fall on the advertising matrix. Yes, Facebook itself relies on advertising too but they are definitely not as mean an ad machine as Google is.

But there’s likely another reason, a related one. The Instagram experience. Instagram was promised independence post acquisition  by Facebook, and one year later, this has largely stayed so. At least looking from outside. This is probably a reference point for the WhatsApp founders. Google’s big acquisitions however, become tightly integrated into the ecosystem. Android and YouTube are the biggest examples that come to mind. Yes, no independence was promised, that is how Google works. An integration into an ad machine is something WhatsApp has vowed to stay away from.


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21 thoughts on “Facebook will rule messaging with WhatsApp acquisition. Google has lost

  1. 20 February 2020…or sometime in the future… The headline will probably read “GOOGLE BUYS FACEBOOK FOR XX Billion…acquiring , in the process, all the products under facebook…”

    On another school of thought, imagine where the new Facebook Paper app is going with all these acquisitions… An all in one app that does it perfectly and looks stunning, and does everything you want…

  2. On a more serious note I don’t think Google has lost anything.
    The major thrust of Google’s vision and corporate strategy is not on ‘social-interactions’ or ‘social-platforms’ but on ‘making all the available information in the world to be easily accessible by anyone, anything, and from anywhere’.

    Their vision is on making information and data available to all.
    Hence their focus is on better search, on things like Google Now, and all the services that make that experience a pleasant one.
    They are investing in petabyte technology for imaging, videos, maps, content, etc.
    I think their aim is to be the biggest and largest repository of information in the world. If they don’t host it, they will point you to it.

    Recall that Google has been buying robotics companies, AI companies, among others. Look at Google glass. What they are really envisioning is a world that has services, apps, and devices and machines that are not only location-aware, but are self-educated based on their ability to search for and access information about anything, anyone, or any place, from anywhere.

    It would have been cool for Google to purchase Whatsapp, but how would instant messaging fit into their vision? Perhaps it is a loss for them if it really was part of their long term vision.

    But in the end at this point in time we can only speculate on the benefits/losses to either party (Facebook or Google). Remember Facebook tried doing a Facebook only phone with their Facebook home app on android and that wasn’t a success. It didn’t even take off as they hoped it would.
    With that purchase of Whatsapp I can only speculate that Zuckerberg wants to bring everybody back to Facebook and then get them on instagram and then get everybody to be able to communicate instantly using chats. After all, that is what social networking is about isn’t it?
    It would be cool though, to comment on someone’s status update, and send them an instant message right there without even asking for their number…kkkkkk

    1. I don’t think Google has lost the a war for relevance as a tech company. they have lost the messaging and social battle, one which they care about a lot.

      The integration of Google+ in all Google products that matter:
      – Messaging (Hangouts),
      – Gmail,
      – Search (+1 buttons),
      – YouTube (comment with + identity),
      SMS on Android (via an SMS integrated hangouts)
      all show how much they care about social. I totally agree with you that Google is much more than the social graph though but I think social is integral to their any ‘information, anywhere’ side of their business. This is why have forced Google+ on us as much as possible.

    2. Awesome analysis, but I don’t think you went far enough.

      Nothing of (long-term) value was lost. I’d argue Google’s attempted forays into “social” are misguided, it might be relevant in the short term, but not so much in the long.

      “Social” platforms are cyclical. Remember MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, MySpace, Bebo, GTalk? All of them had impressive numbers, but they all rose & fell. So it shall be with Facebook. and twitter. and Whatsapp. In 10 years time, Facebook itself will be less than $19bn.

      It would be cool though, to comment on someone’s status update, and send them an instant message right there without even asking for their number

      That would be very difficult to achieve if you want to avoid spambots.

      1. Facebook greater interest is not in messaging. Regardless of what they assure us, I doubt very much that they’ll leave the entity to operate independently, business as usual.

        Those registered phone numbers are real numbers of real people and their reall networks. Facebook may be close to the real thing but not as good enough as Whatsapp.Facebook doesnt have my number… but through whatsapp, I have no doubt it will. And it will run their bunch of AI algorithms to map out a social graph… and in the process make NSA gods amongst man.

        end of

      1. when the Glass project goes mainstream what will happen to whatsapp? Touchless messaging will be the business “Okay Google send message to Techzim”

        1. I guess. But then what will stop WhatsApp from creating Glass commands?? “Ok Google, Enter conversation mode with Admire on WhatsApp. Hello bro, guess who I just saw?”

  3. Facebook strategy is a response to disruptive innovation
    Buy your potential disruptor before they disrupt you. With disruptive innovation, when you figure out what’s happening, the game is already up. With Facebook processing about 250 million messages per day and WhatsApp processing almost double that number, you cannot just sit and just throw caution to the wind.

  4. I strongly disagree with your notion that Google has fallen.

    Mind you, Sir Techzim, Google is an innovative group, and with its hold on gmail, watch the space.

    When Microsoft bought Skype, “expects” said a lot of stuff, now in the same tide you are spelling doom on Google’s future. I, for one would say, hold your horses.

    1. Google is not falling. Not by a long shot. In the article, I’m specifically talking about the messaging space. But yeah, social (and messaging specifically) are becoming very dominant in user app usage.

  5. I think another reason (in addition to the ridiculous amount Facebook was willing to pay) is the board seat. All things being equal, it’s easier to get a seat on Fb’s board than on Google’s. Whatsapp founders probably feel like being on the board gives them a better chance to steer the future of the App (rightly or wrongly).

    The first app you open in the morning from now own is, almost always, an app owned by Facebook. Not a Google one. Not email (well, unless you’re an oldie). Not Hangouts.

    Bold assertion. The first app I “open” in the morning (scare quotes because I don’t have to manually open it) is Google Now. A future with predictive messaging would be very interesting .Pphone see you’re have after-hours meeting scheduled at work, automatically sends IM to your spouse saying you’ll be late, giving an estimate of arrival times depending on traffic conditions. I’d use this over Whatsapp

  6. I think its the data that Facebook is after that influenced the purchase price. With so many whatsapp users across the globe, that info is extremely useful in forecasting future trends i.e money making opportunites.

  7. That article is seeing one side… and the author seems doesn’t want to hear other opinions… who told you Google + or hangouts are not useful… both i use them a lot and have many friends there…

  8. Theses Google vs Facebook vs Apple vs Microsoft stories are good for bloggers’ pockets (fanbois will visit many times to troll on other fanbois). But, they are shallow comparisons to say the least.

    – Google is a search company. They beat everyone else on search!
    – Facebook is a social company. They beat everyone esle on social!

    >FB has search interests,
    >Google has social interests

    PS:It makes sense for whatsapp to be in bed with facebook because their goals (i.e. ‘connecting people’) are the same. With google, its about big data and then using it for search.

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