Alphabet Google unit is taking a leaf out of Facebook and doing what the social media platform did to Snap, turning its features into apps in order to boost user growth and capture a bigger audience. In a span of two weeks, Google has:
- Updated its mobile app with data and features that make part of it look more like Facebook’s News Feed product. Google calls that portion of the app its “Feed.”
- Rolled out “SOS alerts,” tools that deliver emergency information to users of its Maps and Search apps facing a crisis. It comes nearly three years after Facebook introduced its “Safety” feature, which lets users check in with family and friends after a terrorist event, natural disaster or other potentially dangerous situation.
- Begun pushing notifications to users of its desktop Gmail application suggesting they try using the company’s mobile app. (See notification window below.) That marketing technique is notable because it is similar to the one Facebook used to push tens of millions of its users to try Instagram, a service which grew by 40 per cent to 700 million users between June 2016 and April, 2017.
This new changes suggest that Google believes there is value in apping its features. This could significantly boost revenue from ad sales and many other things as is evident from Facebook’s success from apping its own features.
“There’s no internet company that’s been better (than Facebook) over the last five years at delivering consistent, strong growth across its (financial) metrics,” says Scott Kessler, director of equity research with CFRA, a firm which has “buy” ratings on shares of both companies.
Google’s updates to its mobile Feed will now include local data on weather, events and restaurants along with articles from its media partners.