Google Apes Facebook’s Features As Consumer Internet Activity Habits Change

According to CNBC, Google has adopted a strategy of copying the features that Facebook has popularized in the same fashion that the social media giant employed against SnapChat. In the last two weeks, some of the features that Google has added or updated and which appear to have been inspired by Facebook include Feed and SOS alerts.

Google’s Feed feature now resembles the News Feed product of Facebook and now offers local data on restaurants, events and the weather. The online search giant has also introduced SOS alerts which offer emergency information to Search and Maps apps users encountering a crisis. The Facebook feature which Google copied is known as ‘Safety’ and was rolled out three years ago. On Facebook the feature allows friends and family to find out about one’s condition following a natural disaster, terrorist event or other situations that are considered dangerous and life-threatening.

Gmail mobile app

Additionally, Google has also been nudging its desktop users of Gmail to try out the mobile app of the email application. The marketing technique is similar to the one employed by Facebook where the social media giant urged its users to give Instagram a try. With Instagram having grown its user base by 40% between mid-last year and April this year to reach a figure of 700 million, Google is acknowledging the effectiveness of this strategy.

Despite the fact that there is no indication from Google that it has hopes of Google+ ever rivalling Facebook, the search giant is admitting that by copying the individual features of Facebook it will derive some value from it. This is especially so in light of the fact that Facebook has been growing fast and has proved to be immensely profitable.

“There’s no internet company that’s been better (than Facebook) over the last five years at delivering consistent, strong growth across its (financial) metrics,” said CFRA’s equity research director, Scott Kessler.

Word of mouth

Part of the reason Google has copied the features include the fact that user habits are changing. For instance finding things online is no longer being done exclusively through search engines but internet users are increasingly finding them on social networks through family, friends and favorite publishers. Despite the increasing relevance of social media in helping discovery, online search is still growing as can be evidenced by the fact that Google’s paid clicks grew by 52% in this year’s Q2 and this led to Google generating $22.7 billion in revenues.