Google to contest Facebook’s dominance with Google ME

googleFacebook has developed into the world’s largest social networking website, with over 500-million registered users worldwide, and that number is quickly growing as the site adds more than 500,000 new users each and every day.

Facebook’s exponential growth in popularity can be attributable to the site being the first social network to offer a more seamless user experience with an emphasis on sharing what friends really wanted to see and read, instead of a steady stream of spam-like content found on then the largest social network, MySpace, which is owned by News Corporation.

Competitors underestimated Facebook’s growth potential, forecasting its strong momentum at the time would not sustain in the longer run.

Fast-forward only a few years, and Facebook today is challenging Google’s top spot as the world’s largest web property.

 Over the last couple of years, Google has tried to better establish itself in online social networking due to the intensifying threat from rivals like Facebook, but its offerings haven’t really been as widely embraced by consumers as the company has hoped.

Most recently, about a year ago, Google released Google Wave, a real-time asynchronous communication, collaboration, and social networking platform that brought email, real-time chat with voice and video, and social networking all in one place – the first of its kind – yet the service has too not become as popular.

Only less than a year after general availability, Google announced early last August that it would stop Wave development, and said it intended to keep the service available at least until the end of this year.

Despite Google’s marginal results in social networking, the company remains very well positioned strategically to develop a complete social network if it can correctly integrate some of its popular products that millions of people already use and rely on daily.

And right now, it appears Google will finally utilize already popular products to leverage itself into social networking by adding layers of social networking elements into some of its properties, like YouTube, starting as early as this November.

Google will subsequently launch a new social network called Google ME, which will be the most comprehensive social network built by the company, and could actually become a real substitute to Facebook.

Our source, which spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans were not made public, knowing people familiar with the project, told us that users could centrally upload and share content, as well as access information from other social networks like Twitter, play multiplayer games with social elements, and create groups of friends with different privacy settings.

Furthermore, if enabled, friends would be able to see search queries, and search results could be optimized based on friend contributions.

Additionally, Google ME will be integrated with key Google products, including Gmail, Voice, and Docs, among other products.

Google will also initially offer popular games from the publisher Zynga (Google is an investor in the company, its share has not been disclosed), including “FarmVille”, “Texas Poker”, and “Mafia Wars”, some of which are already available on Facebook and mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone.

As Facebook continues to grow, it could outpace Google’s growth and push the search giant out of the number one spot as the biggest web destination on the Internet.

Given that Facebook has amassed a significant amount of data about users on the site, the social network every day becomes more and more of a threat to Google’s search and advertising business.

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Ramy holds a Bachelor in Health Studies with honors in Health Management from York University in Toronto, Canada. He just returned to Toronto following a career opportunity teaching English in South Korea. Write to [email protected]
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  • Anonymous

    100,000 visitors is pretty low, maybe they should have better spent that $45 million for some marketing.

  • Clapoz

    see this is what i don’t understand, everyone uses gmail and other google products, yet the company has done nothing to make them even more social around a centralized social network.

    they better hurry, cuz I previously read that Facebook was building its own email service for its users…

    • Chris Lang

      Have you taken a look at Google Buzz in Gmail? I have 1200 followers and easily get 100 to 200 comments on my posts there. Facebook email? They would have light years to go to catch up to Google’s email filtering and Gmail client.

      Also Facebook will never do this, what makes Facebook work is that Facebook owns my contacts there. I have to use Facebook to contact my followers there. A Facebook email would just turn into Spammer heaven. I already get 200 group invites a week on FB, that’s enough spam for me.

  • Mike Smith

    “Competitor’s underestimated Facebook’s growth potential”

    “competetor’s”? Really?

  • Mike Smith

    also, “it’s”? (same paragraph)

    -More than ever lamenting the demise of the newspaper (and with it, real journalists)

  • Patnyc

    I think Google has no choice to get into this market. Honestly, I love their products. I have an Android Phone, Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Picasa Web, etc. If they create a Social Network, I would leave FaceBook for it..

    • Dimoth

      too bad none of your friends are gonna leave Facebook for it, face it, no one is leaving Facebook for anything

      • Anonymous

        Lots of people have Google accounts because GMail is awesome or because they comment on YouTube. Your friends would be more likely to end up on it simply because they already use Google for other things. That integration is what would drive people to it. And if they do things better (like privacy, advertising, photo albums, etc… People moved from MySpace to Facebook, they can and will move again, if there’s a good enough reason.

      • Carl J

        It’s not “one or the other”, people can choose to be on both.

    • Chris Lang

      Try Buzz in Gmail. YouTube? As trafficked as Facebook? Just another part.

  • Johnnypinaw

    This always happens, established firms neglect to innovate, then A firm outta now where comes out with a basic idea a muiltibillion dollar tech firm like google or Microsoft couldn’t even think of huh

    • just.joe

      The one aspect of GoogleME that makes switching a no brainer for me is the seperate privacy levels for different groups of friends. I don’t post some things on facebook because I don’t want my boss seeing what I did on my day off and I don’t want my family seeing that party I went to. When I can finally share what I want with who I want without everyone being notified all my facebook page will be used for is redirecting people to my googleME page.

      Facebook’s stance on privacy will be it’s downfall.

      • Scotty272

        Well said just.joe

  • NIMBUS007

    i’ll start social networking when google me comes out… it’s time to stop being an online-loner and google’s version of facebook sounds awesome

  • Anonymous

    Considering how ‘well’ Google Buzz did competing with Twitter, I don’t think Google ME will make a dent. Sorry, Google. You can’t rule EVERYTHING.

    • Chris Lang

      Really, I picked up 1200 followers on Buzz in 4 months. And not one of them continually spams me with Group invites and Farmville requests. You may want to take another look at Buzz. Just Google “chris lang google buzz” and you can find me.

      • Anonymous

        I think you are confusing Facebook and Twitter.

  • Jess@4

    This comes as no surprise, however Facebook was made to be a Social Network, and NOT Google… give it a rest. Rather join this Social Reality concept. Looks good enough :

  • Charlotte Website Design

    Interesting to see how this develops. Until someone innovates new offerings, it’s going to be hard to offer the same thing and make a dent.

  • Franco J. Torres

    Google will fail, it should stick to what it does best: search.

    • Leafs-boy

      That’s why it’s getting into this, what would happen If facebook started a search engine, say even a people search engine, while it has more traffic than google

  • Shell Jackson

    wow…i love it!!

  • Thomas Farris

    I am burned out on Facebook and after checkig out a Google online paper about what their future social network, I was certain it would be a great option for me. What GoogleME will do with privacy and different groups,I was sold. I believe it will give Facebook a run for their money. I am ready to switch because Facebook is too random for me. I have looked to Ning and Social Go and I was ready to start a business presence until I read about Google Me. Anyone remeber My Space when Facebook was just startig? They said the same thing about Facebook.

    • Chris Lang

      You are right Farris, said the same thing about Twitter too.

      Sounds like you should come hang out with us on Buzz, pretty hopin community we are founding there. Got some pretty heady predictions where Google Me is headed too. Think iGoogle. You should be able to fill in the rest.

  • Chris Lang

    OK let’s talk facts here.

    Facebook numbers are way skewed by games like Farmville. My PA has her CafeWorld running all day long on one tab. Enough said.

    Second, Google has already highly integrated social features through out Google, they started in August 2008 with Google Reader and a friends network based on you Gmail contacts. We broke that news on my blog back then.

    But as far as traffic numbers, YouTube is part of Google social layers. Has been for the last year and a half. So when you take sites like Picasa, YouTube, Blogger and Gmail, and glue them all together with your Gmail contacts and Google account log in, you have traffic and enterprise level applications Facebook just can’t hold a candle too. In fact, YouTube alone has as much traffic as Facebook.

    Now all Google needs is a wall, and that will be Google Buzz and we are predicting that will be hosted on iGoogle as a standalone wall / gadget.

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