‘Google Me’ New Facebook Competitor

Google is getting serious about launching a Facebook competitor. Is it too late?

Former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo confirms rumors that Google is getting serious about launching a Facebook competitor. “Reliable sources” tell him:

  • 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.

TechCrunch‘s Jason Kincaid is skeptical:

This obviously has the potential to be huge, and Facebook needs a strong competitor. But even if Google has an amazing site in the pipeline, creating the next Facebook is going to be easier said than done — nearly 500 million people already have their content stored on Facebook, and despite what Facebook has claimed about being open, I doubt they’ll make it easy for anyone to jump into the arms of a competitor. Not to mention the fact that Google has had shortcomings with its social sites like Buzz, Wave, and Orkut. This could be a very interesting battle.

It’s tough to kill off a market leader, although Google’s done is before in search, email, and other venues.

The thing about Facebook is that, despite having a massive and growing following, it’s also somewhat difficult to use and has engendered tremendous bad will over its privacy policy and other behaviors.   A deep pockets, savvy competitor like Google could certainly talk advantage of it.

And it’s not like Google is starting from scratch here:  They’ve already got widely used email, photo sharing, calendar, RSS reader, and other applications as well as a toolbar which should be easy enough to leverage.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. tylerh says:

    Google os eliminating Facebook’s future. Facebook doesn’t have a revenue source, and Google is working to ensure Facebook never will have a revenue sourc. Moreover, Google already has all the hardware in place, so the marginal cost for Google is near zero. Thus, Google really can undersell “free.”

    Mark Zuckerberg, meet Marc Andreesen.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s never too late for a player as major as Google to get into the market. Remember Microsoft’s late entry into the browser business? It wasn’t long before its browser was the dominant one and it/they have been ever since.

  3. The question will be: what will they be able to do to incentivize whole networks to migrate? The big appeal of Facebook is that you have a high probability of finding anyone you want to find.

    Buzz was a poor man’s Twitter, and if Google Me (or what they are going to call it) is of a similar caliber, then it is doomed.

    @Dave: I take the point about browsers, but one could use two browsers and at once and then once one liked the new one, one could personally migrate to it without asking all your friends, family and colleagues to do so to so as to get the full benefits of the new item. This will not be the case with a Google version of Facebook–even if it is awesome if I am the only person I know to migrate to it, it will be worthless.