Miguel Helft/Jessi Hempel 2011年11月08日





    这种焦虑情绪不仅仅表现在推动Facebook开发出更好的产品, Facebook甚至秘密聘请博雅公关公司(Burson-Marsteller)在报纸和博客上发表了一系列批评谷歌的文章,但这样拙劣的举措结果却适得其反,因为媒体很快就发现Facebook是博雅公关的客户。虽然Facebook声称此举是出于公司对谷歌违反隐私政策行为的担忧,但它却因为自己糟糕的判断力率先成为众矢之的。

    但具有讽刺意义的是,Facebook和谷歌一方面都希望尽可能为各自的广告商挖掘尽可能多的用户个人信息,但同时双方又一直在“保护用户隐私”方面苦苦挣扎。我们可能对Zappos网站上的一双鞋发表了评论,或是在状态栏里更新了未来婚礼计划的信息。而Facebook却能根据这些信息将我们引导至可能需要的商品广告上, 于是许多大公司纷纷将Facebook平台作为在网络上进行大规模品牌宣传活动的首选。因此,虽然Facebook目前的广告收入远比不上谷歌,但其增长速度却快得多。据美国市场研究公司eMarketer预计,今年Facebook的广告收入将飙升至43亿美元,较去年的20亿美元增长一倍多。而相比而言,分析师预测谷歌今年广告收入的增长幅度仅为30%,约为380亿美元。



    Until recently, the most popular person on Google+, with 598,000 followers and counting, was Mark Zuckerberg. But he has yet to make a public post, and indeed he'd prefer not to discuss Google+ at all. When pressed at a July event, he called it only a "validation as to how the next five years are going to play out." (Translation: Uh, they're copying us.)

    However, inside the Palo Alto office where more than 750 engineers regularly pass by the small glass conference room in which Zuckerberg, 27, holds court, Facebook employees put in some serious overtime during the summer lockdown. This had happened only once before in recent years at Facebook: After word leaked that Google was starting work on a "Facebook killer" in summer 2010, Zuckerberg called on engineers to work nights and weekends for 60 days to revamp key social features like photos, groups, and events. Just as it did then, the cafeteria opened up on evenings and weekends this summer, and children dropped in for dinners and good-night hugs before their parents logged back on for late nights. By September, Facebook had released a slew of new features like better grouping tools to mirror those Google+ circles. Says one member of the product and engineering team: "[Google] can throw all the money in the world, including hundreds of people, at this. So people were, like, This is serious, and we should take it seriously."

    That anxiety wasn't simply channeled into building a better product. In May, Facebook secretly hired public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to plant anti-Google stories in papers and blogs, a ham-fisted move that backfired when journalists discovered Facebook was Burson's client. The company defended its concerns about Google's privacy violations but took the flak for bad judgment.

    The irony, of course, is that Facebook and Google both are in a constant struggle to respect users' privacy while mining as much personal information as possible for the companies' advertisers. All that social information we plug into Facebook when we "like" a pair of shoes on Zappos or update our status about future wedding plans helps the company serve us up ads for things we're more likely to want. This has made Facebook into the go-to advertising platform for big marketers hoping to do brand advertising at scale on the web. As a result, even though Facebook's revenue is minuscule compared with Google's, it is growing at a much faster rate. It is expected to surge to $4.3 billion this year, or more than double the $2 billion it had last year, according to eMarketer. In contrast, analysts predict that Google's revenue will grow just 30%, to $38 billion.

    Zuckerberg is obsessed with figuring out how to amass more data by getting more people to spend more time sharing more things with their Facebook friends. At the F8 event in September, he unveiled something called a timeline to replace Facebook's aging profile pages. "Imagine expressing the story of your life," Zuckerberg explained. To demonstrate, he popped up his own Facebook timeline, where a vertical line scrolled backward through his personal history, curating all the posts he'd ever made on the site to bring to the surface the most important items and encouraging him to add posts and photos going all the way back to the May 14, 1984, post: Born, Dobbs Ferry, New York. In effect, Zuckerberg plans to coax us into making Facebook our living digital scrapbooks. Imagine the hours users may log uploading photos and labeling events from the lost decades B.F. (Before Facebook).

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