It’s no surprise that technology companies have been positioned to grow fast, particularly in the last 25 years.
The evolution of the internet & how users are able to connect to it has created a fast paced environment that is constantly undergoing innovation.
Google was one of the primary companies that was able to succeed in becoming a leader in their primary industry of focus (search), while setting the stage for other industries & sub-niches to grow from the results of their main product.
Facebook has always lagged Google, as it was more focused on putting people & their user generated content first & now has grown to such a large size that they need to expand their range of influence & relevance in a digital world that some might argue Google has a monopoly on.
This has led them to take a page from Google’s playbook, and rebrand as they look to expand their services & influence across the broader digital ecosystem & compete better with Alphabet.
Facebook & Google’s Ecosystems Have Always Been Vastly Different
One of Google & now Alphabet’s main advantages over the rest of tech companies was that they became the ecosystem that they wished to operate in.
In addition to offering a superior primary product in organic search, they also became the primary name that pops into a user’s mind when they think about paid search.
Where Alphabet really made a difficult to match power play was the rise of their broader Google Display Network, where marketers can go through Google’s ad services to display advertisements on sites outside of Google.com.
This was one area that Facebook & Amazon have yet to be able to match, as users must be within their ecosystems in order for them to benefit from advertising.
There are services that both offer for analytics tracking purposes that will track user behavior on websites outside of their own, but this has far less of a reach than Alphabet has already achieved.
Alphabet also has the ability to take away their access to that data through their policies, which we will examine shortly.
Not Just Search – Browsers, Hardware Etc.. Too
Alphabet has expanded their reach into most areas of technology, with their own hardware devices, web browsers & other projects, which gives them even more of an upper hand.
Amazon has followed in their footsteps to a degree with their hardware (Alexa, Kindle etc…) and has worked to develop other technologies & improve supply chains to consumers with their delivery methods.
They have also invested in other areas such as news outlets (Washington Post) & fresh groceries (Whole Foods).
Facebook has lagged in this category, instead putting more focus on how to get new users & keep them engaged, as the more engaged users are, the more likely the company is to make money.
While this is an inexpensive strategy to have (as most users do not spend money on their platforms), they are beginning to see that with the rise of newer, shiny objects to lure user’s attention away from their ecosystems, their slice of the pie in the future is decreasing.
Meta & The Metaverse seem to be a play to combat this & shift the future narrative to one that Facebook & the companies that provide the supporting structures can become the dominant players in.
Meta & MetaVerse – A Power Play For Future Influence & Data
With the discussions around Google’s Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, companies like Facebook & Amazon face a loss to data from other sites.
Not all of their participating users will be able to update their source codes in a timely manner in order to support these platforms receiving data as they have other priorities & finite resources.
With this in mind, Facebook, or Meta has to find a way to create their own ecosystem, as Alphabet’s proposed FLoC user analytics system will make it increasingly difficult for them to have as strong of an influence as they have enjoyed in recent years with access to so much data that comes from outside their primary web & app properties (it also does not help that Google Analytics is also one of the most commonly used tools for webmasters globally).
Teaming up with Microsoft & other names to create a new means of communicating & living digitally is a long-shot way that they seem to think can pay off in the long run.
Even if someone is in the MetaVerse & chooses to perform a Google search, Meta will be able to have access to some of that data, and can use it to try to expand their influence (beyond the expansion of the proposed MetaVerse).
This will then enable them to use that data to improve their own advertising system, which their bet is that in time it will grow with more & more users adopting the MetaVerse for both work & recreation.
Re-Branding To Hide From Trouble
Another glaring reason that both of these companies rebranded is to shelter themselves from years of negative press & legal issues.
It is no surprise that once you scale your brand & services to become a household name that not everyone will be fond of you.
As a result, both Meta & Alphabet have had their share of negative publicity & legal issues that have been seen on an international scale.
At a time where very few people over that age of 5 don’t know who Facebook is, it is logical to rebrand now before attempting to launch such an innovative concept.
While it will likely face new criticism & lawsuits should the MetaVerse take off, it will benefit them from a user sentiment perspective to be able to hide some of its troubled past from view (at least temporarily).
Tying It All Together
While the success of this rebrand has yet to be seen, it does seem to be an attempt to compete with Alphabet in both the data & owning the master digital ecosystem in the not-too-distant future, while doing damage control on its checkered past.
Without having a true hardware offering & with limited sphere of influence across the broader internet, this long-shot bet looks like a step in the right direction for Meta in competing with Alphabet.
This is especially true when you consider the amount of information that Alphabet has from their monopoly on organic search between Google.com & YouTube, and their ability to limit access to data for other companies by changing Chrome’s policies (65% of all global web browsing is performed in a Chrome browser).
How it will play out is yet to be seen, as it is difficult to gauge how receptive users will be to participate in the new MetaVerse offerings.
However, to compete against a giant like Alphabet you need to make drastic moves with grand ambitions, which is exactly what it looks like Facebook, I mean Meta is doing.