Sucking Less Socially Will Pay More At Google

A lot has been written about Google's lack-luster attempts at social media. From Google Buzz reduced to a whisper to Wave waving good-bye, it's been a hard fought uphill battle trying to compete with the LIKES (pun intended) of Facebook - only to come up empty each time.

This past week, CEO Larry Page who is now personally involved in spearheading Google's social media initiatives announced that all Google employees will have their 2011 bonuses either go up or down as much as 25 percent depending on how well Google "performs against (their) strategy to integrate relationships, sharing and identity across (all of their) products."

While to the outside world, Google has been fairly close-mouthed as to how the Facebook-effect could usurp it's Internet dominance, internally, sources are indicating there's a major push to turn all employees into a social media conscious workforce.

The Business Insider reported that last year, Google engineer Urz Holzle - who was one of Google's first ten employees - circulated a warning throughout the Googleplex that if the staff didn't figure out a social strategy, they ran the risk of "being crushed."

Googlers who are big on code names cryptically labeled their social media project "Emerald Sea" after Albert Bierstadt's 1878 painting of the same name. The intent was to motivate, but the ominous ocean wave over-turning a ship at sea was not all that subtle.

Over the course of this past year, "Emerald Sea" eventually morphed into Google's recent launch of "+1" - a "socialGoogle's +1Google's +1 media button" that operates uncannily like…well, Facebook's LIKE button.

The graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks" has satirized Google (aka Gobble) and its reach for the social media brass ring as a fruitless endeavor   - and that only Facebucks (aka Facebook) is worthy and should be considered the heir apparent to Supreme Leadership of the Internet. According to Z-Man (aka Mark Zuckerberg), Google lacks the social media gene.

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Facebook is definitely Google's greatest threat. It has scaled to reach the type of critical mass that makes it a formidable competitor. So when, Google says it's going to put their money where their mouth is - tying employees' bonuses to the success or failure of improving Google's foothold in the social media space - it's a wise move.

But . . .is it too little too late - or will incentives do the trick? Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research seems to think the party is over for search giant: "it doesn't make sense for Google to go head-to-head with Facebook considering the size of the social network's lead and dominance in that space," he asserts. And according to "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks" it's already a fait accompli - as the social network moves on, past Google - to a bigger fish to fry - the Chinese!

Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novelPage from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel