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August 10, 2010

Google’s Facebook Killer

While it hasn’t been officially announced, there are rumors that Google has started development of a Facebook alternative, which has been dubbed “GoogleMe.” While there are no official releases, I called up some of my friends in the know at Google, who confirmed with me that there have been talks and plans for a while how to compete with Facebook and now they have an official project that will destroy Facebook… or at least take a few users away from Facebook. I did a little thinking over the last day or so about this, and decided that when Google launches this, that this actually has a definite ability to be a Facebook “killer” for a variety of reasons. Read on.

If you’ve been reading lately, I’ve been really examining Facebook a lot. Partially because I am sick of everyone in the media fawning over anything Facebook related, and partially because it’s really damn good in generating traffic for my blog. That being said, the Facebook phenomenon is really quite interesting – if only showing how the internet has changed the face of fads. Google however may have something in what they are developing, and be creating not only a “Facebook” killer, but something that may actually last beyond a few year. Here are five reasons why “GoogleMe” could kill off Facebook (and finish MySpace):

1) Google already has built in email. Facebook’s mail/contact system is Facebook local only – integrating the full-service Gmail system into GoogleMe would be providing users with a universal email address that is connected to their profile. With the right privacy settings, one could easily prevent people from emailing you from the social network, or providing limited access to “trusted users.” This would bring Google on step closer to being a universal contact and login system that they are looking to become- something that MSN/Hotmail has tried for years under the passport system.

2) All the information you need is already under your fingertips with Google. Some people have made the argument that Facebook is nothing more than the internet. Finding information and people on Facebook, as the site grows exponentially is like finding information on the internet in general. While it’s a bit easier, the information overload has started to become similar to the internet. With all the messages, requests for friends, free gifts, notices about harvesting corn and other things, it’s often hard to find what you are really looking for. Who knows this better however than Google? Integrating information on people’s social pages with the search function would allow people to really find out information about interests and people.

3) No one really thinks Twitter is long term anymore. GoogleBuzz isn’t that popular, but integration into GoogleMe would provide a real “one-stop” source for providing information. When posting anything on GoogleMe, one could easily provide a smaller version of the post for GoogleBuzz automatically. Throw in Google’s Blogspot services, and you have the ability to create both social networking pages that are integrated into people’s article/blog systems.

4) Google Advertising. While Facebook attempts to find a long term revenue model, Google invented many of the models. Simply put, any Google social networking system will already have a steady stream of income for Google and instant relevant advertising. Google just needs to add a secondary system into their content-based ad system, allowing people to put advertising on GoogleMe and there is another instant $1 billion in revenue for Google within months.

5) Android. After their search abilities, the Google Android system will easily put GoogleMe over the top. The universal Google registration system will allow you to immediately create your own profile on Android, with your information to share as you want. With obviously easy integration with the Android, any social networking system will be also your universal address book that will store all the information about other people on your phone, in GoogleMe, and similarly share as you wish with other users.

Facebook in my opinion has one choice: Sell to Google. If they do not, they really risk becoming very soon the next MySpace, with a quickly dwindling audience as everyone moves to GoogleMe, a natural fit for the rest of the Internet. Facebook has been quickly providing integration into other systems (or more that other systems have been providing integration into Facebook) but it may not come quick enough to save them from Google.

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