Google’s Horowitz: Facebook Is A Social Network Of The Past

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Google’s Bradley Horowitz did a pretty good Rocky Balboa impression on Wednesday, calling Facebook — the reigning social champ — a “social network of the past” and accusing the network of getting advertising all wrong.

Horowitz, Google VP of social products, made his comments during a 15-minute conversation at the Business Insider IGNITION conference. (See the full video below.)

His biggest verbal jabs at Facebook were on the subject of advertising. Horowitz said Facebook is “jamming” ads into users’ streams and frustrating both users and brands in the process. He said Google may someday have ads on Google+, but it won’t be because Google needs to “make next week’s payroll based on jamming ads at users in an inappropriate way.”

Horowitz compared ads on Facebook to a guy selling sandwiches in the middle of someone’s conversation.

“When you and I are having a conversation, the least opportune thing you could do is have a guy with a sandwich board run between us and try to sell me a sandwich. I’m trying to connect with someone. I’m trying to communicate in that sacred space of social connection. It doesn’t matter if I ‘like’ the sandwich. It doesn’t matter if it’s personalized with my favorite mustard. That is the wrong moment to try to dangle a sandwich in front of me.”

Horowitz joked about Google+ usage when only a small percentage of the audience raised their hands to say they’d used the service recently, but he also hinted that Google’s next published usage figures for Google+ will be impressive.

“We recognize that Google+ may not yet be the place where you go to wish your friends a Happy Birthday,” Horowitz told host Nicholas Carlson, before adding “…we aspire to that.”

Horowitz said that Google has a more “holistic philosophy” about running a social product.

“Google+ is not attempting to chase the social networks of the past, we’re charting a new course,” he said.

When Carlson asked if the phrase “social networks of the past” was a reference to Facebook, Horowitz said “yes.”

In the film, Rocky Balboa was the underdog boxer that stunned the champion, Apollo Creed. One thing about that: Rocky wasn’t much of a talker, he just took care of business inside the ring. Google might do well to follow that path, as well.

Here’s the full interview via Business Insider.

About The Author: Matt McGee is Marketing Land’s Executive News Editor, responsible for overseeing our daily news coverage. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He blogs at Small Business Search Marketingand can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus.