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Developers Prefer Google Over Facebook … Do You?

Exclusive interview: study reveals surprising research

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With Facebook’s nearly 900 million users and over 425 million mobile users, it seems pretty clear that it would be the leader in social mobile development, right? Wrong. A new study from Appcelerator and the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that developers are more interested in Google than Facebook.

Do you prefer apps developed for Google platforms or for Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

Also read: Does Google Deserve to be Labeled Evil?

According to the report, 39 percent of the more than 2,000 mobile developers surveyed plan to focus more on Google initiatives than Facebook’s social graph this year. The reason this number is so significant is due to the fact that Facebook dominates the marketplace in most metrics.

It’s important to consider that developers have a very strong sway over the use of any platform. They are, after all, the ones creating the apps that you use. Think about how much Zynga has helped Facebook, by providing users with games like Farmville, Cityville and Mafia Wars. These findings are very significant, and have major implications for Google’s social endeavors. Of course, the Google ecosystem is much larger than just Google+. Google’s Vic Gundotra recently talked about how Google counts users who sign into Google+, and use another Google product within a month, as users. Presumably, this includes Gmail, YouTube, a signed in Google search (complete with Search Plus Your World), Google Reader, etc. According to Gundotra, Google+ has 100 million “30-day active” users.

Google put in a strong showing at the recent Game Developers Conference (granted, so did Facebook).

Michael King, the principal mobile strategist at Appcelerator, told us that because these findings were “so different than what we expected,” they conducted a follow up study to make sure the results were accurate.

“For us, it was extremely surprising. When we put together the survey, we actually thought Facebook would just crush Google in terms of social engagement, and quite frankly, we saw Google make a tremendous showing, given the fact that their social initiatives are pretty much dwarfed by Facebook in every measurable manner,” he said.

They learned that developers are pursuing Google over Facebook for its position in social and mobile. They believe Google is better in terms of its network assets such as YouTube, search, maps, and Android. They also felt Google engages with them better and offers more guidance into how they should approach social applications.

On the other hand, the developers feel that Facebook gives them a long list of what can be done with its API, but then doesn’t offer any direction for how to do it.

“They [Facebook] really need to step up their engagement a little bit in order to get the developers excited about the platforms and to get the developers thinking about different ways to use social in their mobile apps,” said King.

While this data is good news for Google, the study did find some less encouraging news for the search and advertising giant in terms of Android development. The study found that the interest in Android development has dipped more than 10 percent in the past 3 quarters. Incidentally, Mika Mobile announced that it was dropping support for Android earlier this month.

The iOS platform has remained the steady leader, but in the 2nd quarter of last year, Android was within 2 percentage points of it, said King. According to him, Android is dropping due to continued fragmentation of the platform.

“This is a very tough line for them to walk because, if you curtail fragmentation, then there’s no way that a developer can effectively write once and work across multiple Android devices,” King pointed out.

He told us that Google could help to solve this issue by establishing itself as a “centralized authority.” King believes this could help both the distribution and discovery of apps.

Other significant findings in the study pertained to HTML5 and cloud development. For starters, both areas are growing. Around 79 percent of developers said they planned to integrate HTML5 into the apps they build this year. But, only 6 percent of developers will write their entire apps in HTML5. Most developers plan to build hybrid apps using both HTML5 and traditional code.

King told us these results were understandable since HTML5 is not always appropriate for the job.

“HTML5 is only one tool in the bag,” he said. “Or, if you a golf fan, [it's] one club in the bag to help you get to the PGA tour.”

Additionally, developers expressed an increased interest in cloud development, especially in the areas of location and notification. However, King said developers still struggle with understanding how to utilize the cloud.

So, what does all this research mean? Overall, King told us that the mobile/social wars have just begun. He believes that if companies want to succeed in this space, they have to engage with developers.

Furthermore, he suggested that the deeper implications of the data could mean a shift toward Google+ over Facebook. In fact, when asked if Google+ could catch up to Facebook, nearly 70 percent of respondents said it could.

Google+ to Overtake Facebook” class=”aligncenter” width=”543″ height=”567″ />

“If Facebook decides to fall asleep at the wheel here and doesn’t begin to engage those developers, then absolutely Google+ and Google mobile may become the more de facto standard,” said King.

He went on to say that he hopes both companies will respond to this report by building on their strengths and improving their weaknesses.

An interesting thing about Google mobile, however, is that Google continues to tie many of its products and platforms together in more ways, making the larger ecosystem more unified. Think Android, YouTube, Google Play, and Google TV. If what co-founder Sergey Brin said holds up, Chrome and Android will likely merge sooner or later, as well.

If this trend is happening with developers, will it soon transition to consumers too? Tell us what you think.

WebProNews Senior Writer Chris Crum contributed to this report.

Developers Prefer Google Over Facebook … Do You?
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  • satviki gargy

    An informative article on Facebook vs Google plus.I have also predicted same and written an article on my blog a few days ago..

  • http://www.reynoldspest.com Brian Reynolds

    If you build it, they will come. Google has always encouraged developers very well. After the developers, I believe we will see even more consumer/social growth of Google.

  • http://cozumelmexico.net Bob

    Google is serious business. Facebook is peer to peer socializing.

    Never mix business with friendship.

    • http://www.myeasytrade.com jack

      absolutely ryt, business mixed with friendship is a total failure

  • http://aidyreviews.net Aidy

    @Bob, absolutely.

  • http://mayur.name/ Mayur Shah

    Google has more to offer to the developers. Facebook is so little in this regards.

  • Diego

    I really prefer Google instead Facebook too.

  • mario

    i pefer google over facebook

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/OneFineArt William MATAR

    Of course… Google Application for developers… From Lebanon I choose GOOGLE

  • stuart

    the people (market) are on facebook socializing , google+ and all the associated tools and platforms are geared to supporting business, now combining with android on nearly all phones and tablets other than apple, becomes formidable —so for google to dominate the world as they wish, they have to convince fb users to join g+, that it is a viable and better scocial tool, then also develop google apps for iphones and ipads, God help anyone who wants to live off the grid!

  • Toni

    I am not surprised. Google rules the web and, with Android, it will rule in the mobiles shortly.

  • Mark

    I would still go for Facebook for the business and socializing network.

  • chase

    I think the stats shown here are off our at least a misnomer.

    It’s a no brainier to know Google holds a larger market share and has more developers developing for Google once you include mobile.

    Most mobile devises currently do no give the user a choice as to what os they want to use. Android being the majority holder for os on mobile, it stands to reason whether you prefer Android or not, it had the most being developed for.

    Since Mobile has interfaced itself with the major sites and Google owns many of those sites, again, they are going to hold the market share on apps being developed for.

    Without question Google as a company has made some very smart moves. But they essentially at this time have no real competition in many of those areas.

    Id like to see some real competition given to Google in many areas. Competition trends to lend itself to a higher quality end product. Given the right competitor that is.

    My question at this point, is who will break the strong hold Google has on cornering the markets. Google has come close to monopolizing the most popular used venues of todays end user.

    Is there a challenger savvy enough, or strong enough to give Google competition on the horizon. Or will Google corner even more of the market virtually unchallenged?

  • MD

    As a web developer, and a communications person for a company, I prefer Google, Twitter, and everything esle besides facebook. Facebook is by far the least secure netowrk on the planet, and we have if permantly blocked on our corporate networks. Yes, 800 million people can be wrong as the notion that people are stupid by nature holds true and signing up and using facebook proves it. We have large multi-billion dollar companies now reverting to a corporation no-no as assigning their own web address as a sub of facebook!!! A major communications blunder on anyone with any communications skill or ability. You advertise your own company website FIRST and if you have Facebook, its advertised on your site, NOT the other way around. It easily goes to show the uneducated lemmings no progressing thru the ranks.

    I’d use anything google as its been around for so long, is stable, and trusting. Facebook? Cannot trust at all and like all other Facebook type sites thats come and gone over the last 15 years, it will soon be gone as well. Only reason facebook came so popular is the advent of mobile devices and an interest and ease of use of these device. As for facebook itself, far better application were developed even in teh late 90′s online for social networking – just never caught on as there were only PC’s and limited numbers using these tools. You are more secure giving your credit information to Somali pirates than posting ANYTHING on facebook.

  • http://www.faceitpages.com Misty Lackie

    Hi have developed for both. The biggest issue with FB is the never ending changes to their system and API without giving sufficient prior warning to developers. Lets not even talk about the endless bugs within the API that at any given moment can break your app that was working fine for a long time. Facebook has a very robust API but the support is horrible and the never ending changes and bugs make it very difficult to work with.

    Google has had its fair share of shutting down a ton of their API’s though (Google base, wave, news search, etc.) which doesn’t give me much more confidence in them.

    It is the large risk developers take when developing apps or platforms that are reliant on any API.

  • Hassan Malekzadeh

    very good

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    Independent developers are in it to make money and are going to concentrate where the odds are in their favor … compared to Facebook Google+ is virgin territory.

  • http://Www.walksandwags.com Cindie

    I preferGoogle to Facebook , as a small business owner , they have educated me in the mobile and social networking areana. They spent their company’s money and expertise on my business .

  • http://www.blogstreet.net Lance Clancy

    Those that can create a development environment that would bring more into the foray of app development both for pc and mobile shall win the battle.

    I hope someone can create an online development environment for mobile in the future.

  • Marion Montalbano

    It is a little like comparing apples and oranges – but if you forced me to choose – it would have to be Google.

  • Vik Sintus

    facebook = cyberspace fun
    google = real life fun… at least I can play with their android open source code

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    I think Google will eventually dominate this arena because Facebook is eventually going to outlive its usefulness. There will be other ways to do what people are now doing on Facebook.

  • http://www.replica-sunglasses.co.uk/womens-sunglasses/ Lisa

    Yest its very true that Google has an edge as google has gone over with android technology. And google has the power of search + integration with each other so that flexibility helps google.

  • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

    Two words, ‘Cow Clicker’.

    Coders love a challenge.

    Shooting fish in a barrel, or enticing net-zombies to play mindless games, not so challenging.

  • http://www.dressupgames.name/ dressupgames

    Developers Prefer Google Over Facebook … i think it’s right! but many people also like facebook.

  • http://www.foreverweddinggown.com alina

    I agree with Lisa.

  • Arpit

    i prefer Google.

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