Google has fuzzy secrets, Facebook has clear vanity

Facebook and Google are the yin and yang of our online selves.

With Google, we share the mundane details of our life, and our dark secrets. Google knows you searched for paper towel reviews, knows your’re thinking of buying a new car, knows your love of boy bands, knows far too much about that purple rash, and probably knows your sexual fantasies. It knows all this, but can only guess guess your age, guess your gender, guess your city,¬†and may not even know your name.

On the other hand, Facebook knows your name, gender, age, city, relationship status and more. You told it! And you are kind enough to give updates when any of these change. But Facebook knows few secrets–other than the inordinate amount of time you spend on that one profile. Rather, Facebook is the curated “You” that you aspire to be, the “You” that you want the world to see. No purple rashes here! Leonard Cohen instead of Backstreet Boys. No fantasies, instead “Interested in: Women”.

Both Google and Facebook are in the business of delivering ads, and advertisers want to choose the type of people they reach. Google has had the upper hand here, since paper-towel-buying and car-wanting people are easy to advertise to. But in the long run, Facebook’s asset is to own your online persona. I predict this asset will be worth more than advertising revenue.

The yin envies the yang’s profitability, and the yang invests millions to create its own yin.