What, pray tell, does Apple have that Google and Facebook need? All three have banks full of riches. All three have a brand recognized the world over. All three have one to two billion customers or users.
What’s missing at Google and Facebook that Apple has? A face. A human being. Someone to talk to. A place to go whenever a something goes wonky or we have questions that need to be answered. A trip to the Apple Store yields results. Have you ever talked to an employee from Google or Facebook?
Google has a playful logo for a reason and it’s not just to differentiate it from other search engines. Google gives away free software in exchange for your private information which can be used by advertisers to sell you more products. The logo and name are a disguise.
Honestly, I think that is an insidious business model not far removed from a corner drug dealer. Free drugs to get you hooked, then you pay forever. Google gives away free software, and you pay with less privacy and all the dopamine you can stand. Facebook isn’t much different. A free way to connect to people all over the world in exchange for private information, and a daily dose of dopamine. Does that sound familiar?
For what it’s worth, Google and Facebook do not have the market on dopamine effects; Apple is involved, too, and it starts with those happy, smiling, friendly faces at the Apple Store; all of Apple’s products are designed to make us feel good as we use them.
The difference between Apple, Google, and Facebook should be obvious. Apple has a face; whether it’s co-founder Steve Jobs or CEO Tim Cook or chief design honcho Sir Jonathan Ive, there is a face to the place. It might be a freshly baked new associate greeter at the Apple Store door, or a friendly Genius at the Bar, but Apple is made of humans and isn’t afraid to show you.
Have you ever seen a Google employee? And, other than CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who looks more animatronic than Jobsian, where are Facebook’s faces? Ironic, no? Facebook is about faces but doesn’t have a human-like face?
Both the search engine giant and social media giant are made of math; algorithms that do their deeds for us; little dopamine fixes that connect us to one another or to search queries– there’s a number on the door, but the lights are not on, and nobody is home.
As big and rich and powerful as Apple has become, it remains a place full of people with faces. Google and Facebook need a touch of public humanity that seems to be missing.