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Developers bet big on Google in battle against Facebook

But Android is in danger of fragmenting
Tue Mar 20 2012, 11:34

DEVELOPERS ARE BETTING that Google is going to give Facebook a spanking as the two companies slug it out for social media supremacy.

A poll of 2,173 software developers around the world suggests that Google's range of online services including Google+, search, Gmail, Android and so on could give it an edge as it takes on Facebook.

The survey, which was conducted by researcher IDC for mobile platform company Appcelerator, reveals that developers clearly see the worlds of mobile and social networking coming together as a "huge opportunity", but they are apparently struggling to understand how to make the most of social assets in their mobile apps, including Facebook's social graph. At the same time, the developers said they recognise "immediate value" in having easy integration capabilities represented in Google's combined portfolio. In fact, 39 per cent of developers said that Google's network reach is more important to their social strategies in 2012 than Facebook's social graph.

"This translates into a big competitive opportunity for Google-and potential significant risk for Facebook-especially because developers perceive Google as innovating faster than Facebook," said Scott Ellison, VP of Mobile and Connected Consumer Platforms at IDC.

"Add to that, Google itself is clearly gearing up to leverage its network effects, one example being the alteration of its privacy policies to allow sharing of user data across its services."

But it is not all plain sailing for Google. The report also shows that Android - once neck-and-neck with IOS - is seeing "waning interest" due to continued fragmentation of the platform. In fact IOS continues to reign at number one in developer interest levels, and 89 per cent of respondents said they are very interested in developing for the Iphone, followed by the Ipad at 88 per cent.

Android and Windows 7 claim the number two and number three spots, respectively, while RIM and others have experienced "significant declines". While Android has seen enormous growth in shipments and remains a solid number two, "fragmentation continues to take its toll", the study warned. IDC reported, "Android phones and tablets are showing slow erosion of interest levels. This quarter, interest in Android phones dropped 4.7 per cent points to 78.6 per cent, and Android tablets dropped 2.2 per cent points to 65.9 per cent from the previous survey. Although close to or within the margins of error, these drops are consistent with the trend of small but steady erosion in Android interest over the last four quarters, even as enormous growth in Android unit shipments continues."

The poll also predicted that in 2012 HTML5 will move to centre stage with both pure mobile browser apps and "hybrid apps" that integrate both native code and substantial amounts of HTML5. This approach will help developers code across a crowded mobile OS landscape, IDC said. µ


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