Games can add value but a strong framework and front end are required
Strong social networks have scale, thriving developer communities, big audiences, and a monetization strategy based on advertising. This is core to Googles own interests, and it needs to position itself in this space for defensive and offensive reasons. Google is clearly preparing to make its move, and weaving gaming into the social mix is attractive and could help advertising revenues. However, by itself this will not be enough to provide long-term differentiation, and there are fundamental issues that Google needs to address as a matter of priority. It needs to pull its social media assets into a coherent framework with a user-friendly front end or social hub, where search can make a great contribution.
The writers are Ovum analysts.
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