In light of my blog about wordpress’ monopoly over blogging, I thought I’d discuss my feelings towards the other two main websites that I use; Facebook and Google.
Companies such as Facebook and Google enjoy domination in the social networking and search engine realms respectively, and this is obviously a very good thing for business. I have watched them slowly trying to branch out into other realms too, with Google’s successful Gmail function too.
This is obviously a good thing for these companies, but what about the individual?
Monopoly over different aspects of web behaviour causes us to be funnelled into certain websites and certain behaviours. For example: before I joined Facebook, I used to trawl the web for entertainment, visiting many different sites and exploring a diverse range of content. Now the time I spend on the web is mostly limited to Facebook, since it is so highly interactive and easy to use. This isn’t a bad thing, but I do lament the days when I used to actively search for content that I enjoyed.
Alternatively, this streamlining of internet behaviour could be a really positive thing. It allows me to connect with people around me better, since they are using the same websites as me. If I google something interesting, I can be assured that my other friend using Google will be able to find it too.
And lastly- while Facebook has a monopoly over the time that I spend on the internet, it does facilitate my interaction with cyberspace in an incredibly positive way. I can ‘like’ the pages of websites/companies/projects that I enjoy, and receive updates from them when they have new content. I’m exposed to the content that my friends enjoy via the newsfeed, and often enjoy viewing the videos that they watch, and the websites that they visit. This has proved a way more effective way to browse the web than a generic Google search.
While it does creep me out a bit that Google reads my emails and that I get strangely relevant advertising in return, I don’t mind so much. They provide a quality service and I think Gmail is truly innovative and excellent.
As I said in my post about wordpress, I do always hope that there will be competition though, and so that we can keen seeing great things from Google and Facebook.