Who's Winning the Facebook-Google Tech War

This article is from the archive of our partner .

When Google launched its Facebook doppleganger, Google+, it became clear that the two were in an war to win the Internet. Google ruled the Web for awhile, but little underdog Facebook crept up and all of a sudden its social networking site had 800 million very active users. Now the two are in a bona-fide war, explain Fortune's Miguel Helft and Jessi Hempel . "In the long history of tech rivalries, rarely has there been a battle as competitive as the raging war between the web's wonder twins," he writes. One could argue that one is better than the other, preferring Google+'s circles to Facebook's Timeline, but this is really a numbers game. 


Google: Google has the largest share of the ad market than any single tech company, nabbing 41 percent of the $31 billion U.S. online ad market.  And it's basically got the ad search market cornered.

Facebook: Facebook may not have all that ad power, but its ad-revenue is growing at a super-fast 81 percent this year.

Winner: Tie Hands down, Google brings in more money. But the trends aren't working in its favor. "Advertisers are putting more of their limited dollars into Facebook, with its 800 million users, many of whom spend more time on Facebook than on any other site," write Helft and Hempel. Google's display ad dollars will grow a measly 34 percent, peanuts compared to Facebook's expected growth. There is one big however, though, for Facebook. The company hasn't quite been able to monetize all the ad attention its getting very well. It can attract big names, like Ford, but these companies aren't spending too much to advertise on Facebook, as The Wall Street Journal's Emily Steel and Geoffrey Fowler noted. "Everybody wants to be liked," they write. "The question for Facebook Inc. is how much advertisers are willing to pay for the opportunity." 

Recommended Reading


Google: Google rakes in almost nine times as much as Facebook, and is expected to grow to $38 billion this year. 

Facebook The social network is expected to more than double its revenue this year to $4.3 billion. 

Winner: Google Facebook's growth rate trumps Google's 30 percent growth. But having that lump of cash means Google can buy popularity and growth. Just this year, Google spent $12.5 billion (Facebook times 3) to acquire Motorola. "Page can afford these big swings (and others) in the years ahead, given the way his advertising business just keeps growing," Fast Company's Farhad Manjoo pointed out


Google In trying to keep its most talented people around, Google shot itself in the foot. After losing talent, Google offered top engineers big $10 million in equity-and-cash deals to stay, an executive told Helft and Hempel. Smarty pants Google employees leveraged that, seeking offers from Facebook to get raises. Google changed its strategy, offering a company wide 10 percent raise. In short: Google's spent a lot of money to keep people around. 

Facebook Facebook has successfully stolen away Google's best. "Four of Facebook's 11 top executives hail from Google, including COO Sheryl Sandberg and David Fischer, the advertising and operations chief," explain Helft and Hempel. 

Winner: Facebook Google spent big money to keep its gold and in doing so ruined its cred.  "It created an un-Googley environment," senior manager who left Google recently told Heflt. And Facebook still won over those coveted Googlers. 

It's a close race. Facebook's all about growth this and growth that. But then again, Google does have all that money with which to squash Facebook. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.