Facebook hearts Google

Facebook ~hearts~ Google

Been having fun using my Invisible Web GreaseMonkey script to see what analytic “beacon” scripts sites use.

“Invisible Web” parses each page you visit and looks for commonly used web bugs AKA beacons. If it discovers a javascript tag belonging to an analytics service it alerts you by showing the an icon (favicon) for that provider.

Facebook ~hearts~ Google

One of the more amusing relationships that I’ve found is between Facebook and Google. On the surface you would think the two would be enemies given Facebook coming after Google’s AdSense product with their new Social Ads platform.

It seems that Facebook does not share in the common competitive paranoia practice. Facebook is electively sharing their user and traffic intelligence with Google. They do this by using Google Analytics throughout their development site and by including Google Analytics as the only 3rd party analytics provider in their FBML specification. This allows app developers to include Google Analytics tracking for each of their apps.

Now I can’t imagine Google is actively pouring over individual Google Analytics accounts in order to “spy” on a competitor. But there are other ways that Google can use this data:

  1. They can use the Facebook Apps data to learn more about you in order to tune the AdSense and AdWords ads they show you.

  2. They can combine the Facebook data with other Google Analytics data and use it in its aggregate form to design new products and features. (Orkut?, OpenSocial?)

Tim’s post was right on, it’s the data stupid! With their analytics product Google has a view into most of its current and future competitors data.

Google Analytics is the most important Google application after Search.