Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Google to compete 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.

Competitor's underestimated Facebook's growth potential, forecasting it's 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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