Google has chosen a General in their War With Facebook – VP Engineering Vic Gundotra, we’ve heard from multiple sources. This is the person who will control overall product strategy and execution around their new efforts to find relevance in a quickly changing Internet landscape that is increasingly dominated by Facebook.
Gundotra has previously been involved in a slew of product efforts at Google, but has focused largely on Android and Google’s mobile phone applications.
Other product leads were considered, we’ve heard from sources, including other Google vice presidents and outsiders. But Gundotra is now firmly in control.
Google hasn’t officially revealed any of its plans in social, but we’ve heard to expect them to be making a significant effort.
The type of effort that suggests they’ve mortgaged the farm and have just the one crop left to plant. Their backs are against the wall. Etc.
Lose and they give control over the way the web is organized, and monetized for the next decade or so. The Age Of Facebook will begin.
We’ve got an aggressive, zealous Facebook army controlling a third of the world’s Internet population, and they want more. Meanwhile, The old bully on the block, Google, can still rumble pretty well when he gets worked up enough.
I think he’s gotten worked up enough.
If you just switch guns and tanks with notebooks and land grabs with unique visitor grabs, all loaded down with monetizable personal information, the analogy is complete. The Third Reich was to take over the world, as Facebook is poised to do today. All that stands between them and victory is a somewhat slow to move giant called Google (America). And our hero is also fighting another war to the death with Microsoft/Japan, making things more complicated.
Things will get interesting, to say the least.
There may even be a group of recently imported brains from Eastern Europe hard at work on a Manhattan Project-like endeavor to develop the first atomic-powered mobile phone. First to get that sucker to market just wins by default. No one can stand up to that kind of weaponized technology.
But back to reality. Gundotra has product control of Google’s social thrust broadly defined, we hear. Google Me, their new social platform, certainly. But Google Games is a core part of the social experience as well (remember that 40% of all time spent on Facebook is spent…playing games). Google has a deal locked up with Zynga to get the best games right off the bat. And Google’s upcoming music service will be a killer feature that Facebook has shunned to date. Music is a great app to have, and a must-have app for mobile.
And don’t count this Google team out just yet. Gundotra was a key part of moving Android from an idea to the second largest operating system platform in the world in just two years. They’re standing toe to toe with Apple already, something most people said couldn’t be done. And Gundotra has experience at Microsoft in a variety of come from behind and then dominate/kill your competitor – with the Xbox, for example. And before that Internet Explorer, built on the cold, soggy remains of Netscape.
“That team relishes a come from behind situation where everybody is betting against them” said one source. “My guess is they copy what works at Facebook, throw away what doesn’t, and add killer apps like Music to the mix. And they may even use open standards, protect privacy in an easy to understand way, and let people actually take their own data out of the system!!!
You can create any kind of playing field you want to watch this all play out. I take Europe and Africa in WWII and pit the underdog Gundotra/Patton against the guy who had everything to lose – Rommel/Facebook.
A few of my favorite Patton quotes:
Patton: Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that “we are holding our position.” We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!
Patton: Thirty years from now, when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, “What did you do in the great World War II,” you won’t have to say, “Well… I shoveled shit in Louisiana.”
Patton: We’re gonna keep fighting. Is that CLEAR? We’re gonna attack all night, we’re gonna attack tomorrow morning. If we are not VICTORIOUS, let no man come back alive!
Lt. Col. Charles R. Codman: You know General, sometimes the men don’t know when you’re acting.
Patton: It’s not important for them to know. It’s only important for me to know.
Capt. Richard N. Jenson: They haven’t spotted our positions yet.
Patton: They will get some education in about 10 seconds when they get a dose of our artillery fire.
Patton: You know, Dick, if I had my way, I’d meet Rommel face to face; him in his tank and me in mine. We’d meet out there somewhere… salute each other, maybe drink a toast, then we’d button up and do battle. The winner would decide the outcome of the entire war.
So who wins? The good guys do, of course. Well in this case it’ll be whoever is deemed closest to “good.” Heck, it may just end up being a tie.
Then they can split us all 50/50 and go home super, duper rich. Yahoo can then find a use for itself by coming in and mopping up the mess, I guess. Maybe they can be the official photographers of the war and give Flickr a much needed burst of activity.