Citing a “very credible source,” Digg founder Kevin Rose tweeted that Google is readying “Google Me,” a social network intended to compete with Facebook … The Tweet was now deleted, but not before many sites including Gizmodo, and Louis Gray already wrote about it.
TechCrunch confirmed today that it’s not a rumor, it’s real.
D’Angelo, who was Facebook’s CTO for years, shared his thoughts as an answer to one of the questions on Quora. Here’s his response:
- This is not a rumor. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.
- They realized that Buzz wasn’t enough and that they need to build out a full, first-class social network. They are modeling it off of Facebook.
- Unlike previous attempts (before Buzz at least), this is a high-priority project within Google.
- They had assumed that Facebook’s growth would slow as it grew, and that Facebook wouldn’t be able to have too much leverage over them, but then it just didn’t stop, and now they are really scared.
Google has failed over and over again in providing any service that’s user friendly, i.e. Buzz, Latitude, Social Search, Google Friend Connect, Wave, Wave again, especially Wave … Though mark my words, Latitude will take off and will be base of amazing LBS services … Anyways, Google usually lacks of good design and usability, which makes it hard to believe they can compete with Facebook.
But the funny bit is that while Google is going after social networking, Facebook is making the move towards search. Shiv shared some thoughts on Facebook Search, and although I have some different thoughts, [Facebook] Open Graph is the beginning of a new semantic search that goes deep as opposed to broad and finds relevant content based on profile, location, and human recommendations.
So my predictions:
1. Google Me will have amazing technology, platform, have geo-social-mobile as a core, leverage elements from Latitude, Buzz, Open Social, and will be native to all new releases of the Android platform, including Google TV. Their success will rely on Google making a massive effort in making it usable, friendly, and having a good design.
2. Facebook will enter the search war, but not before they enter the display advertising arena. Search is a low priority as it provides less direct revenue opportunity for Facebook, whereas serving relevant context / social aware ads on 3rd party websites using the Facebook Open Graph provides a massive immediate revenue opportunity.