Charlie Rose’s interview to Google’s number 4 executive Marissa Meyer is really interesting (seen in Techcrunch). She explains why Orkut failed, why it works in India and Brazil and why Facebook is not monetizing so well its social network. Anyway, she also shows her admiration for social networks, which she compares to a drug.
These are some of the things she said:
– On why Facebook is not so profitable: “In search, attention is really focused on getting that thing. When you introduce ads into other mediums, it may be, for example, on social networking sites, people will tend to browse through a hundred pages a day, right. Even an avid Google searcher will do ten searches, 20 searches. So I mean the amount of attention that a user pays on each page and how it’s directed between say, search and social networking is fundamentally different. I think advertising can work in both. But the type of attention you’re going to have on the ads on the social networking site is a little bit more distributed. It’s a little bit let focused.”
– On Google Lattitude: “There’s a lot of I think big ideas. One thing that we’ve been talking about for awhile is really involving cell phones. If you take the cell phone technology, the GPS style technology we’ve worked on with wireless networks and cell phone towers and you combine that with a social network, you can find out where your friends are. (…) In fact, we just released data of that product last week called Google Lattitude.”
– On Orkut’s popularity in India and Brazil: “I think the social networking is really interesting. And I have to say, we launched a social network at Google called Orkut. It’s not very popular in the United States, really popular in a couple of other countries. In fact, if you go to those countries, they often think that Orkut owns Google. And you talk to people in Brazil, they’re like, oh, Google, you mean the subsidiary of Orkut?”
– On why Orkut failed in the US: “When Orkut first launched, we did our launch early and often strategy. And it wasn’t ready to scale. So the network got really slow.”
– On why Orkut worked in Brazil and India: “But in Brazil, they were sort of used to the latency. So the fact that the site was slow didn’t slow them down. They just kept building momentum. And India, I think because it was on the Indian opposite time zone, it also wasn’t competing for that same resource of scalability.
– On why Facebook is more popular than Orkut: “There definitely is a first mover advantage in social networking”.
– On how Google launched Orkut: “I sent out the note saying, hey, there’s this new system called Orkut. You know, sign up, try it out. Let us know what you think. And I sent it out, and it was probably about 8:00 at night. And at about 10:00, I checked our logs. And there was something like 10,000 log lines. And at that time, and I looked at how many users were on the system, and it was about 200, which meant that every person who got on the system immediately did 50 page views. And then I started looking at it over days, and sure enough, in the average session, people were doing, 50, 80, 100 page views when they logged on. And I’ve just never seen anything like that. It’s the equivalent of almost user crack, right.”