LinkedIn vs. Google+

Which social network will reign supreme?
For the time being, it might appear that the two are vastly different websites. But while the LinkedIn
LNKD
we know and love today serves the professional world, Google+
GOOG
may soon attempt to serve
everyone
. "I would say that if you look at it from the application point of view, Google+ is probably going to expose a number of APIs during the Google I/O conference," Trip Chowdhry, the Managing Director of Equity Research at Global Equities Research, told Benzinga. "Once you open up the APIs, people like you and me [and] developers can create many applications." As an example, Chowdhry described a theoretical application for recruiting. "If you want to recruit somebody, you could run this application, find people who are looking for a job, and [connect] to them," he said. Chowdhry believes that this could give Google+ a significant advantage. "The way to think about it is [that] LinkedIn is providing one professional network solution only," he said. "Google+ can do a lot more than LinkedIn. People can write performance applications, or applications for soliciting [full-time] or temporary employees. "Suppose you have a project and you say you want 10 people on it and you want them on it for the next [several] years. These kinds of applications can be jumpstarted more easily on Google+ versus LinkedIn because Google+, by design, has been created to be an open platform, not a walled garden that LinkedIn is."
Pricing Model
While Google+'s flexibility might provide the network with an edge, Chowdhry said that there are other advantages as well. "Google's pricing model has always been asymmetric," said Chowdhry. "For example, the recruiting application that LinkedIn sells is over $2,500 a year. I can assure you that any application that goes on Google+ will be free because it's all based on an asymmetric model." That being the case, how will Google profit? "With the Google+ model, probably the payment would come from somebody else," Chowdhry explained. "Where? Probably the person who has requested a project that needs to be filled. Or, in other situations, it could be advertisement-supported. Or it could be a fraction of the project cost."
LinkedIn Wins the Current Round
In the near-term, Chowdhry believes that LinkedIn is "very safe." "But if you look to the long-term, I think Google+ would be a very serious challenger to LinkedIn," said Chowdhry. "Depending on the type of application and the use, developers can create a lot of applications with multiple monetization mechanisms [on Google+], not just the one, two, or three mechanisms that you have with LinkedIn." If you're wondering how much time LinkedIn has left before the Google onslaught, Chowdhry has an estimate. "I think Google+ will start challenging LinkedIn, not immediately, but probably 12 months to 18 months from now," he said.
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