In a move to directly confront social media titan Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and it's dominance of the market, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced that users of Google+, it's rival social media service, will be able to log in into various sites using a new social log-in feature similar to Facebook's.
You know the system, or you should. You've likely seen it a thousand times on the web. Websites offer you the opportunity to log in via your Facebook username and so forth. Twitter does it, as well. Now, websites can allow users to do so with their Google+ accounts as well. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is at some pains to point out the difference between the two services, painting Facebook's service as allowing a more out of control 'spam' style of sharing and so forth. But the long and the short of it is that it's the same basic functionality for most users.
So where does this take social media? It's another step in the coming war between Google and Facebook. The two have different product lines, and apparently the senior folks get along. But getting along isn't the same as cooperating or not competing. Compete they do, as well as other social media systems angling to come out of the coming struggle intact.
Any discussion of social media right now must begin with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). But I'm not convinced that'll be the case in five or 10 years. The service is very popular, but users are notoriously fickle and the company still hasn't figured out how to make money. Earnings per share sit at one lonely penny, and that's not going to cut it. The firm is trying to innovate its way to advertising dollars and that's good, but I think the jury is out on whether it can pull it off.
The stock is the most famous investment story of 2012. I won the hearts of several of my clients at the brokerage by talking them out of getting involved in the IPO, thank goodness. It opened at 38 and hasn't seen that level since. Heck, since July 13, 2012 it's only been over $30 for 11 days by my (too hasty) counting. Combine that initial drop with an P/E of 1,845.29 and you're looking at a stock that's way overbought and over-anticipated based on hopes and dreams. Facebook is the sort of story that teaches us that many people never learned the lessons of 1999.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is a lot more than just social media, of course. It's search and shopping and email and blah blah blah. The main advantage that Google will have over Facebook is that the company actually makes money. I encourage all of you reading this to absorb that statement. Google makes money, Facebook doesn't. You'd think that wouldn't be hard. If Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) wants to promote and expand Google+ it has the time, muscle and money to do so.
Most famously, Google shares exceeded $800 a few days ago. That's a hefty amount but not as impressive as it might be. A few splits might make it more affordable to the rank and file investor and create a little additional investment lubrication. Still, a reasonable P/E of 24.36 and share growth of 29% this year make Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) still seem like a good bet. It won't be safe to count the company out of upcoming social media dominance if it wants it badly enough.