Google seems to be having its fingers in many pies. It started off with a search engine, then moved into advertisements (which are today considered to be its greatest source of revenue), a chat client, an email service, a plethora of feature rich maps, a mobile operating system, a web browser…. the list goes on and on. Yet the one field they haven’t forayed into yet is the social networking one. Rumor has it that Google has a social networking site in the works. According to speculation, the name of this website is “Google Me”. If these rumors prove to be true, then Google is sure to give the remaining players a good run for their money.
BACKGROUND OF THE RUMORS
It all began when a Google employee, Paul Adams, deeply researched the current social networking scenario and found that there were many constraints and challenges in the present offerings. For example, he pointed out that an average person would tend to have more than one friends circle. He would have one for his workplace, another for his family, one more for his close friends, and so on. Mixing these distinct groups can create confusion in his online social life.
Another point he put forward is that not all the people comprising a “friends list” are actually friends. Some are merely acquaintances we happen to meet in the real world, or even in the virtual one. This shows how the present social networking sites are pretty unorganized.
HOW MUCH OF IT IS TRUE
Internet entrepreneur Kevin Rose mentioned in a now-deleted tweet that Google would be coming up with a project to rival Facebook. He even went as far as to identify the Google project as Google Me. In addition, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Adam D’Angelo was confident that Google was indeed working on such a project, claiming that Google felt threatened by Facebook’s immense popularity and felt the need to create a social network of its own.
DOES GOOGLE REALLY NEED THIS?
The answer would be a definite yes, for a variety of reasons. Recently, Google rolled out two new projects in the social networking field, viz. Google Buzz and Google Wave, neither of which created a long-lasting impact, attracting significant criticism. So it is only logical that they develop a powerful application capable of taking the masses by storm, the way Facebook did in 2008. Another worry for Google would be that its future rival Facebook is implementing their “Like” features for a new idea – grouping the mass of data and using it to create a basis for a search engine which would be more oriented to the user’s preferences. This would be a direct competitor to Google’s own search engine. Moreover, Facebook’s collection of personal data serves as an interpretation of the user’s likes. Based on this, specific advertisements can be posted on that user’s page. But there is still light at the end of the tunnel for Google. Facebook’s recent privacy issues have become a real bone of contention, forcing many users to shun the website. If Google can suitably exploit the situation, then they can make a pretty good head start into the social networking market. Currently, Facebook is perched high up on the social networking ladder, with 400 million active users. It would take something really very special from Google to dethrone the current king of social networking.