Over the past few days the rumor mills have been buzzing as news emerged that Google is working on a potential “Facebook killer”. This comes only days after we published about Facebook’s search strategy which could eventually become a direct competitor to Google. One thing is increasingly clear: this year could soon shape up to be more about Facebook versus Google in contrast to last year’s “Facebook versus Twitter” theme.
To say that Facebook isn’t concerned about Google planning an attack against them would most likely be inaccurate as Mark Zuckerberg has always been paranoid about potential competitors. However all recent attempts to squash Facebook have been completely ineffective. It would be difficult for Facebook to plan any form of defense given that they don’t know what Google is working on, but I’m sure they’ve strategized about all weaknesses in their existing system.
So what are the details about the new “Facebook Killer”. Aside from a tweet that was posted by Kevin Rose, which was later removed yet alluded to the issue, Adam D’Angelo, the former Facebook CTO, and Co-Founder of Quora, posted his own statement on the Q&A site:
Here are some facts pieced together from some reliable sources:
- 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.
So is Facebook scared of the new “Google Me” service that is rumored to be launching around October? Probably not. The title was more tongue and cheek than anything else. Facebook is about to surpass 500 million users and for Google to try and “kill” Facebook would be pretty difficult. The company has ramped up on their internal social team however and it’s not unlikely that a more comprehensive competitor to Facebook will be built, something which Google Buzz didn’t succeed at.
Yet given Facebook’s strong position, it’s pretty unlikely that the company will be significantly affected by a Google competitor at any point in the immediate future. No matter what, it will be interesting to see how the new Google-Facebook battle evolves over the coming months. It’s pretty clear things are heating up between the two companies.
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