Google's viral propaganda war against Facebook and Twitter

Google's latest attempt to imitate Facebook and Twitter, Google+, is already declining and starting to fail, before it is even fully launched. Google+ is widely expected to be another embarassing GFail, like Wave, Buzz, Orkut, and all previous attempts by the corporation to get into social media. Already, people have lost interest in Google+ after the initial hype and inevitable subsequent anticlimax.

Google's strategy with Google+ is simple: copy what Facebook and Twitter are doing, to try and get a slice of their success. Google has more than enough cash and manpower to make it happen. They have huge backing, too, for instance on the world's most popular tech blog, which is dominated by outspoken Google/Apple fanboys, has put a Google+ banner at the top of every page, and delivers a steady flow of advertorial type headlines and articles about Google+ every day even though nothing new is happening. The disproportionate levels of hype surrounding every Google launch serves only to heighten the embarrassment each time Google fails. Google+ will not beat Facebook and Twitter because, alas, the folks at Google clearly just don't "get it" as I'll explain -- and unfortunately they have clearly refused to admit their previous mistakes let alone learn from them. Perhaps Google has become so accustomed to preaching to the converted, with their networks of sycophantic worshippers, that they've lost touch  with objective opinion. It's no wonder that professional commentators are already talking of the beginning of the end for Google, and the post-search era.

The most dissapointing part of this story is the underhanded way in which Google is attacking their rivals. It's a defining characteristic of Google, conceived as part of their strategy against Microsoft. Among the older generation of commentators it's still widely considered cool and trendy to bash Microsoft and worship Google/Apple, but it's easier to see it for what it is when the same tactics are deployed against newer brands.  See below for the most infamous examples of Google+'s viral anti-Facebook propaganda.

Google's business model is now based on imitation and dirty-tricks, backed-up by acquisitions -- instead of innovation. The corporation has firmly established this pattern as their long-term modus operandi . Google led the way in web search and have been dining out on that ever since, but that was a decade ago now. The web has fundamentally changed, but Google has not. The web is in a new stage of evolution, from a medium facilitated exclusively by search to one driven by social. Facebook has already overtaken Google as the most used website, and this trend marches onward with unstoppable momentum. Google is on the way out, and they know it, and they are scared. Sadly, for ten years Google has squandered the cultural and financial capital from web search, resting on their laurels, and that is why they have been left behind, Search remains important today, but we can see the future already simply by extrapolating current trends. The whole operation smacks of desperation, with Google resorting to "celebrity acquisition", and official Google+ community managers mysterioisly know (and announcing) when celebrities join.

Google has proved more than once that the people making the decisions just don't "get" social.  The curious thing is, I don't think anybody really "gets it". Even if they wanted to, the folks at Facebook and Twitter couldn't bottle and sell the magic formula that makes them work as well as they do. Luck plays a big part. Facebook and Twitter were two tech start-ups among countless others which tried and failed. Furthermore, the fundamentals of Facebook and Twitter are not unique -- for instance we've also had MySpace, Bebo, FriendFeed, and many other directly comparable social networks which never came close to achieving the same levels of popularity. Facebook and Twitter happened to have the right ingredients at the right place and the right time. It's a bit like the way life came into existence here on Earth but not on any other planet we've looked at so far.

Facebook and Twitter played defining roles in the creation of social, and they have been riding the wave like two master surfers ever since. In the same metaphorical context, Google+ is so very much like the stereotypical surfer wannabe, with a rich dad, who purchased the campervan, a nice board and wetsuit -- then paddled out to sea with everyone watching, but the surf is no longer up and there's no wave to ride. It's awkward to watch.

A few examples of the prolific viral/sharable propaganda on Google+ 

 Notice the similarities in style between these Google+ propaganda images, suspiciously reminiscent of Google's famous homepage doodles. A small number of individuals, some openly employed by PR agencies or by Google, are sharing large numbers of these. It's no exaggeration to say that Google+ propaganda images constitute the most common category of images I'm seeing on Google+. I've followed thousands of people, systematically following as many people as possible, and a surprisingly large proportion of them openly work in PR or for Google.  Some people have entire Google+ photo albums dedicated to Google+ infomercial images. The news feeds of these people each consists almost entirely of links to positive articles about Google+, lengthy advertorials with tips for using Google+, etc. 

Editor's note: ok, there are just too many of these to do in one day, so I'll just paste in a few more in and curate them properly later on if I have time.

(The viral potential of content featuring cats is well proven!)

29 July 2011

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Related: Google+ vs. Facebook: Some people are way too passionate about this battle… (The Next Web)

Why did this agency, JESS3, go to so much effort? It is reasonable to conclude that they did so because Google paid them to do it. This looks like part of Google's huge PR campaign promoting Google+. That's why in all of these images Google is portrayed as victorious. It's like wartime propaganda, and equally insideous.

The way the article is worded tries to make it sound like the agency produced these images for no reason or "just for fun". The reason for doing the work is conspicuous by its absence -- but do some digging and you will find that the agency lists Google on their list of paying customers.

I would be curious to know how this blogger, Paul Sawyers, was introduced to these images. Either knowingly or unwittingly, this blog post appears to be disseminating and celebrating official Google propaganda.

Google+ is absolutely littered with professionally-produced pro-Google+/anti-Facebook propaganda images strikingly similar to these.

This blog post, and the numerous images displayed within it, offer us an insight into the agency briefings and thought-processes at work behind the ceaseless supplies of Google propaganda online.

Google+ propaganda: concept art sketch

Related: Google is hosting the blog of a hacking network that's attacking businesses and governmental organisations in the USA, UK, etc: (Blogger/Blogspot was acquired by Google almost a decade ago, but the user experience is still as clunky as ever.)

And yet, Google also expects to do business with these companies and to win contracts for these governments. And how Google whines and sues every time the likes of Microsoft wins a government contract Google wanted. Personally, I prefer not to do business with an organisation that provides services to people who are contributing to economic problems that adversely affect my daily life.

Notice that the same hacking/activism group is engaged in a high-profile campaign attacking and criticising Facebook, and coincidentally Google has been trying to launching a service designed to compete directly with Facebook (Google+).

Michael Schwartz (16 Sep 11, 23:27)

There's one reason why + will succeed.

Google is everywhere. Don't tell me you'd just start bing-ing your stuff after all these years, or that you don't have a youtube account.
I for one tried their mail a long time ago. I liked it so much, I stayed.

And now google has brought the convergence nokia has been always talking and dreaming about. It's an extension of modern life that includes everything for everyone and networks everything together.

You don't have to be eager or want to have Google+. Somewhere along the road you'll just join because you'll already use another one of it's services... because google is omnipresent.

I like the idea of open source, and especially the idea of an open source supporter with deep pockets. I hate patents, I'm tired of stupid lawsuits and I think that when an invention that can serve a greater good for mankind is "patented" we all lose.

Anyway, here's some productive counter-advertising :))

As far as I'm concerned, I find the business of advertising really fake. I don't think I've ever seen an advertisement that was ever relevant to me. I did use ad-block far too much for google to get an idea of what I might be interested in... but then again... Don't really care if it's relevant or not.

I seriously hate facebook for example... and all social we. Only reason why I have one is because everybody else does.

But regarding MS and Google, I doubt anybody will achieve the talent and skill in OS design and usability MS has, any time soon.
The thing I really like about google are the patents, put in an open OS will make other designers to open their patent portfolio as well.

If all these huge corporations hold their patents in their teeth the way they do, they just block individual creativity, and kill small business in the womb.

Update: Google+: Social Media Upstart ‘Worse Than a Ghost Town’ (CMM)

Google+ proves to be just another failed attempt by this corporate dinosaur to copy Facebook and Twitter. It's humiliating after all the hype, PR and propagada.

As one commentator aptly put it, and as quoted by others: "Google+ is dead. At worst, in the coming months, it will fade away to nothing or exist as Internet plankton".

It's sad, but true. From the start, half of my connections on Google+ were openly employees of Google and staff at PR agencies employed by Google, and the small number of real users who initially tried the service are long gone, myself included, and you can't blame them.

Sorry, Google, but money can't buy real friends, and by the same token it can't buy a real social network. Facebook and Twitter grew organically and rode the wave of the advent of the social web.

Google+ is so cool... that is, if you enjoy watching tumbleweeds rolling accross a barren wasteland.


Hi Michael, I get that you like Google. I've had a G+ account from the start, and it's been disappointing. In the past 24 hours alone I've seen well-informed commentators describing Google+ using various negative metaphors including "tumbleweeds" and "crickets" (on established social media platforms) and that paints a good picture.

Update: Google+ Is A Sideshow -- Silicon Valley Is Ignoring It

Ironically, the tsunami of G+ propaganda has prompted some cool reactions, like this example -- and some of the the G+ counter-propaganda is actually funny, too:

Google+: bored to death

Tim Acheson (07 Oct 11, 16:39)

Other example, mainly taken from the G+ pages of people who make a living from promoting brands on social media... ;)


Google's strategy of imitation rather than innovation isn't working too well, as the corporation's own disillusioned employees seem know all too well. (GFail.)

How true this "rant" was, and how profoundly insightful.

The leaked insider's opinion offers a rare glimpse into the reality behind the closed doors of a highly secretive and PR-obsessed corporation, where information is tightly controlled. Google led the way in search, but that was a decade ago and the web has moved on. Facebook (partnered with and part owned by Microsoft) has overtaken as the most popular website. Google has now firmly established a pattern of imitation and acquisition instead of innovation, blatantly copying other people’s ideas but often missing the point – and “Google+” is an excellent example of this pathological mentality.

If the leak was deliberate, it may be a calculated risk – Google’s PR folks know the employee can’t be sacked without drawing more attention to the story, at least not immediately.

Ironically, this bad-news story is also somehow reassuring -- it suggests that Google does still employ at least one wise person who isn’t dazzled blind by the company’s historical successes and can even think for himself.

Tim Acheson (14 Nov 11, 15:17)

Related: Google sends huge chocolate bars with Google corporate branding to prominent female tech bloggers. (Google knows how to keep commentators sweet -- no pun intended.)

Tim Acheson (22 Aug 12, 17:02)

Related: Google paying bloggers and journalists to disseminate corporate propaganda disguised as genuine content?

  • Google "maintains a network of direct and indirect 'influencers'
  • This network is extensive, including attorneys, lobbyists, trade associations, academics, and bloggers
  • Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all.

Source: (The Guardian)


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