If you have spent any time on the web today at all, browsing anything related to technology of course, you will most likely be aware of the circulating rumours regarding Google’s intentions to enter direct competition with Facebook, with the launch of their own social networking service ‘Google Me’.
The key to this for me is the timing on Google’s part, why now? I mean, Facebook boasts over 400 million users and growing, and the founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth over $4billion whilst still in his twenties, an incredible achievement to say the least. So although Google is a multinational corporate Goliath in relative terms, why do they believe there is any ‘right time’ to charge head first into competition with such a titanic brand in Facebook?
Well, the answer may lie if we dig into the not too ancient history. For example, the demise of Bebo is one that many of us observed with infinite curiosity. It went from one of the most popular social networking sites after its launch in 2005, to the point we are at now with owners AOL planning a complete scrap of the site.
From personal experience, I admit that it was not too long ago that I joined the masses flocking from the still popular MySpace to this ‘phenomenon’ that was, and remains, Facebook. So, could it be possible that Google has predicted an equally severe crash for the seemingly invincible Facebook? With an increasing number of users signing up for Twitter, perhaps Google has decided it’s time to divert the migrating users away from the little blue bird and its wonderful world of the ‘tweet’, to an all-new social networking experience.
So the question still remains, is this just extremely clever forecasting? Or is it simply sheer arrogance on the part of Google? It would seem as though they feel that they have accumulated enough users for their other services, such as Google Mail and Buzz, to warrant a punt at pilfering Facebook’s own user base. A feat which the latter, Google Buzz; A Twitter-Like social networking service has not been that successful so far and well Google Wave failed miserably in achieving.
Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling contemplated, “Will ‘Google Me’ be a worthy Facebook challenger, or will it be DOA?” It’s an interesting point of view to say the least, but it would appear that ‘Me’ is a high priority project in Google’s back room now, and it’s full steam ahead on challenging Facebook – the question is whether ‘Google Me’ would be a completely new service or an overhaul of Google’s existing social network; Orkut, which outside of certain countries such as Brazil, has not been successful.
Now, from personal experience having used Facebook for a couple of years now, I would admit to being increasing underwhelmed by the whole thing. Whilst it started off a great site which brought a fresh outlook to how millions used the web and interacted with people, I feel they have begun to adopt an unwelcome ‘overkill’ approach adding more and more unnecessary and irritating features.
The addition of ‘groups’ started off a great idea, but quickly become overused and overran my Facebook homepage. Though of course, the introduction of thousands of games not only added to the fun, but provided a massively increased level of competition and friendly banter between friends, so it is not all bad and Google has some serious catching up to do.
So what do you make of the rumours that Google Me could take on Facebook? Would you be happy, or excited to adopt a rival service and compare the two before deciding which one is best? Would you simply stick to the devil you know, or would you transfer simply for something fresh that would easily tie-in with your other Google services?