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Googles buying spree raises questions about its social networking strategy

Eden Zoller and Neha Dharia | Sept. 6, 2010
The buying spree raises questions as to where Google is heading with its much-anticipated play in social networking, particularly as many of the recent ones, including SocialDeck, are gaming specialists, suggesting that Google sees gaming as a cornerstone of its social media strategy.

Games can add value but a strong framework and front end are required

Strong social networks have scale, thriving developer communities, big audiences, and a monetization strategy based on advertising. This is core to Googles own interests, and it needs to position itself in this space for defensive and offensive reasons. Google is clearly preparing to make its move, and weaving gaming into the social mix is attractive and could help advertising revenues. However, by itself this will not be enough to provide long-term differentiation, and there are fundamental issues that Google needs to address as a matter of priority. It needs to pull its social media assets into a coherent framework with a user-friendly front end or social hub, where search can make a great contribution.

The writers are Ovum analysts.

 

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