I haven’t watched WWF, or WWE, or Friday Night Smackdown since I was a kid (see right), but after reading Wired magazine’s article on Google vs. Facebook, I could not help but think about, in my opinion, the greatest wrestling match of all time. This battle pitted the up and coming, wildly popular, eccentric and electric young superstar against the stalwart, power punching, mega-myth champion of the world. Of course, I’m talking about the headliner at WrestleMania 6 where the Heavy Weight Champion of the World Hulk Hogan fought the Intercontinental Champ, The Ulllttiiimmmatteeeee Warrrrrioorrrrrrr!
Champion against champion, title for title, that’s what it’s all about.
Google and Facebook are waging their own war on shaping what the Internet’s future will look like. They both have an underlying mission to share information, but their core approaches and visions of the web are very different. Google has historically viewed the web as the great equalizer, the place where information can be accessed by anyone and everyone, and that information can be efficiently found by harnessing the power of cold, hard algorithms. Facebook sees the web not as the source of information per say, but rather as the medium for which people can share information across their social net. Instead of relying on complex math necessarily, Facebook puts the power of human sharing in the forefront of spreading information.
Both of these approaches have their place on the web. What good is a platform to share information easily from the people that matter most if the people that matter the most can’t find the information in the first place, and vice verse? In my mind, the bigger challenges lie in front of Facebook, because the future of sourcing information from hundreds of friends (if not thousands for the Facebook junkies “power users”) will come down to powerful ranking, grouping, sorting, and prioritizing algorithms, a space that Google has done very well in.
“So wha’cha gonna do brother … when the Hulkster (read as Google) comes for youuuu (read as Facebook)!” Well, Facebook has been able to pull some ex-Googlers into their shop, to a tune of nearly 9% of their staff, and they have a virtual lock on the social network space (although I begin to worry about the hipness of it when my parent’s generation is “friending” me). As difficult as it may seem, they may be putting together the pieces and the relationships to really challenge Google’s web dominance. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll have enough to gorilla slam the powerhouse, avoid the leg-drop, and big splash their way to top, just like the greatest character wrestler of all time was able to do. R.I.P. The Ultimate Warrior.
Bonus Footage: Top Ultimate Warrior Promos Ever