It's been a rough week for Mr. Zuckerberg and Co. First, in an earnings call with investors, the young CEO admitted that Facebook's growth has been less than impressive lately, and that ad revenue is in need of change for the mobile landscape. If you are a Facebook user, this "change" is something that Zuckerberg and COO, Sheryl Sandberg, touted numerous times in the earning call, "sponsored stories," or essentially, status updates posted by friends turned into advertisements for whatever product the friend's update referred to. This change seems intuitive until you see that "Sponsored Stories" have been in use since January and make up only 8% of Facebook's ad revenue.
The second bomb that Facebook dropped was a denial straight from the horse's mouth that the oft-rumored "Facebook Phone" won't be happening. (Yes, HTC Status, you were the first Facebook phone, but you don't count because nobody bought you.) This "surprise" that Facebook won't be delving into the mobile-phone market got me thinking... Where a "Facebook Phone" would seem like a bad idea (especially to a guy like me who isn't on Facebook), it's worked out pretty well for Google. This is by no means a bombshell, but every Android phone is already a Google+ phone. And recently, the integration has paid off. According to Kontxt Communication Consultant, Morten Myrstad, unique visitors (from the US) to Google+ have increased 43% in June alone. That's impressive considering Facebook's growth in the same period was 1%. That said, no, Google+ still isn't the social-networking heavyweight that Facebook is, but it's getting there.
So the question becomes, what does Google need to do to bridge the gap? If Google's goal is to be as socially integrated into 950 million people's lives around the planet as Facebook is, what changes need to be made? What new implements need to be kept, and what parts of Google+ should be scrapped?
Essentially, imagine you have been given the keys to the Google+ car: how would you drive it?