Google’s Horowitz: Facebook Is A Social Network Of The Past

google-plus-facebook-logosGoogle’s Bradley Horowitz did a pretty good Rocky Balboa impression on Wednesday, calling Facebook — the reigning social champ — a “social network of the past” and accusing the network of getting advertising all wrong.

Horowitz, Google VP of social products, made his comments during a 15-minute conversation at the Business Insider IGNITION conference. (See the full video below.)

His biggest verbal jabs at Facebook were on the subject of advertising. Horowitz said Facebook is “jamming” ads into users’ streams and frustrating both users and brands in the process. He said Google may someday have ads on Google+, but it won’t be because Google needs to “make next week’s payroll based on jamming ads at users in an inappropriate way.”

Horowitz compared ads on Facebook to a guy selling sandwiches in the middle of someone’s conversation.

“When you and I are having a conversation, the least opportune thing you could do is have a guy with a sandwich board run between us and try to sell me a sandwich. I’m trying to connect with someone. I’m trying to communicate in that sacred space of social connection. It doesn’t matter if I ‘like’ the sandwich. It doesn’t matter if it’s personalized with my favorite mustard. That is the wrong moment to try to dangle a sandwich in front of me.”

Horowitz joked about Google+ usage when only a small percentage of the audience raised their hands to say they’d used the service recently, but he also hinted that Google’s next published usage figures for Google+ will be impressive.

“We recognize that Google+ may not yet be the place where you go to wish your friends a Happy Birthday,” Horowitz told host Nicholas Carlson, before adding “…we aspire to that.”

Horowitz said that Google has a more “holistic philosophy” about running a social product.

“Google+ is not attempting to chase the social networks of the past, we’re charting a new course,” he said.

When Carlson asked if the phrase “social networks of the past” was a reference to Facebook, Horowitz said “yes.”

In the film, Rocky Balboa was the underdog boxer that stunned the champion, Apollo Creed. One thing about that: Rocky wasn’t much of a talker, he just took care of business inside the ring. Google might do well to follow that path, as well.

Here’s the full interview via Business Insider.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook | Google | Google: Google+ | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Joe Manly

    Exactly, just shut up and do it. You don’t need to make a scene to show you are better – be Rocky – the quiet thumper

  • henreeG

    Well said Horowitz! Go Google.

  • gosilent

    Facebook is great, but the way they are working the ads lately is simply nuts! Nobody wants to go look at a stream full of ads…they need to be a little more subtle. Along the side is noticeable and useful. I don’t know what they should do for revenue, but they really should calm it down. I don’t like how the first post in the stream looks like a message posted by a friend and I find myself reading the small print first looking for the word “Sponsored.” Over it already.

  • Ben Anderson

    The video here is really all you need to understand about Google+.

  • smartone2

    The problem is that the ads try to use your friends to make them relevant

    but if you are getting an ad for levi’s and it says one of your friends whose fashion taste you do not care about “likes” levis that is a turn off

    however i think your friends helping you discover new things is the future in social.

    There is a facebook recommendation engine app that is better called recomendo.

    it recommends facebook likes for a user based on their taste and in addition.

    you can designate friends as tastemakers in specific categories and that influences what is recommended to you.

  • Matthew Loop

    Good points above. Google doesn’t have a good track record with social so I’m not convinced they’ll overtake Facebook there. I think the Facebook “promoted posts” are pissing-off brands and businesses more than anything else. It’s almost like a bait and switch. “Here, build your fans on our network so you can reach them all in one place… but wait, now we’ll make you pay to reach them.” Seems they are desperate to make money for shareholders and are willing to forsake users.

  • Hvacrpro

    GOOGLE has Destroyed the groups on YOUTUBE, because they dont want social networking to be anything more than a straight marketing tool for their profit gain or benefit. Google cant buy FB, so they are throwing this out there in hopes it is something that will grow old on people, which all social networking is very time consuming. Ppl want more than just what it does now, FB has become stale just like myspace had. social network is now becoming a tool for Corporatism networking to spam book everyone, with their ads and their likes, and clicks. profits before people. the new society principle of value in America.. thank the Neo Con Corporatist. so much for regulation and big govt protection for the consumers…

  • Ricky Roux

    Bro, who are you??? And why do you behave in such an arrogant way .. facebook is way ahead of the race, and why do u react that way when u hear the facebook name … u r LAME! also, I thought google was supposed to stand for everything that is good … in my book your comments merit an explanation .. they even sound a little evil … I don’t know .. from here u kind of look like when yahoo was afraid u were coming in strong … or maybe not… I am just sayin .. get real bro .. the tech sector really doesn’t need haters …

  • Jeffrey James

    really??? Bro, u sound like a plant for facebook… i don’t know…kinda evil….u r lame-o as well…. u sound like uber hater bro, i don’t know…. just sayin’

  • davidquaid

    Love Google+ but Google’s getting a little bit arrogant. There’s a lot Facebook does do that Google+ doesn’t yet. G+ is much neater, cleaner and I think 2013 will be an epic year.

    But I’m growing tired of Google’s arrogance. Charging for Google Apps — its a second rate application, a mere dinosaur compared to Office365 and other online editors. Also, Analytics is slow, clunky and out of date.

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