Paul Adams, the Facebook guy who pointed out the dominance of Google+ by males in a Google+ post the other day, has a very interesting post on his personal blog about why he left Google for Facebook, and about Google blocking him from publishing his book.
You see, Adams apparently came up with the social circles concept that Google+ now employs in its new social network, and his book about the concept, is appropriately titled "Social Circles." Here's his year-old presentation that explains it, and promotes the book:
I wrote the book in collaboration with Google, and in June 2010 they officially gave me written permission to publish it. The book content, the title, and the cover all existed prior to Emerald Sea (Google+). However, after the PR frenzy around the leaking of the project in July 2010, Google verbally rescinded permission to publish, and blocked me from publishing until after Google+ launched. I understood and respected their decision at the time. However, they continue to block it. Now that Google+ has launched, I honestly can’t see why they don’t respond to my emails requesting permission to publish. The book contains no proprietary information, it is based almost entirely on research from 3rd parties (mostly universities) and any Google research referenced is already in the public domain.
The goal of the book was simple: to take the complex body of academic research about social behavior, and make it accessible to the many designers, developers and marketers who need to know this stuff. The industry needed this book. You might say I’m trying to organize some of the worlds information and make it universally accessible The irony that Google is blocking this endeavor is not lost on me.
On leaving Google for Facebook, he writes:
"The main reason I left was that there was an opportunity at Facebook that I felt I couldn’t turn down…Having said that, there were other factors that made my decision to leave for a competitor easier. Google is an engineering company, and as a researcher or designer, it’s very difficult to have your voice heard at a strategic level. Ultimately I felt that although my research formed a cornerstone of the Google social strategy, and I had correctly predicted how other products in the market would play out, I wasn’t being listened to when it came to executing that strategy. My peers listened intently, but persuading the leadership was a losing battle. Google values technology, not social science. I also moved because the culture had changed dramatically in the few years I was at Google. It became much more bureaucratic and political."
At Facebook, Adams works on advertising products - the real area where Google and Facebook will increasingly butt heads, because in the end, that's where the money lies. No matter how many awesome features and integrations either company is able to come up with, the revenue is not coming from the "cool" factor (although that can certainly help in terms of driving usage).
Based on Adams' account of the whole situation, it seems like he has plenty of motivation to get ahead of Google in the advertising game, as Google continues to pursue acquisitions in this area to further dominate. This is one aspect of the social network battle that is going to be very interesting to watch.
Google is off to a great start so far in generating buzz and interest in Google+. Invitations are flying around, and the integration with existing Google products is likely to keep the new users flowing in. That is also going to keep people on Google properties longer, and perhaps on Facebook a little bit less. This, in theory, should translate to more clicks on Google ads.
IgnitionOne recently found that Facebook advertising spend was up 22% in the second quarter, year-over-year, on a same-client basis, with impressions up 11%. Still, Google has remained the "standout performer". Google grew to 80% share of all U.S. search advertising spend in Q2, dominating growth in impressions, clicks, and clickthrough rates. Google's display business has also shown significant growth.
Meanwhile, Google's latest ad-related acquisition is under scrutiny from the Department of Justice.