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For years, Google’s natural enemies were Microsoft and Yahoo.  But as Google trounced those lesser giants in the search engine war, it’s now slowly losing momentum in what may turn out to be the real battle – the one for display ad revenues – to the dorm-room-born Facebook.  While Google promised to keep your usage data separate from its ads, Facebook built your identity into the web: it knows who you are, what you like, and has the right to use that information because you explicitly gave it to them.  And even though Facebook advertisers don’t initially know anything about you, they can target ads to your age, location, education, and things you have “liked” in your profile.  Because Google is the “social” underdog in this battle, their best weapon will be openness – trying to turn users against the walls of Facebook.

Source:  Wired.com

Date: November 13, 2010

Link:   http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/11/google-fears-facebook/all/1

Questions for discussion:

  • Google’s goal is to organize the world’s information.  How does the interaction and information shared in Facebook undermine that goal?
  • How do Google’s AdSense/Doubleclick ads try to determine what your interests are and then display ads that might appeal to you?
  • Why does Facebook want you to stay logged-in to their site while you surf the web?
  • What is the difference between a targeted ad and a contextual ad?

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