The internets is abuzz this morning after Kevin Rose dropped a potential bombshell rumor on twitter. According to Rose, Google is positioned to enter the social networking space very soon to compete against Facebook with a new service potentially called “Google Me.”
Ok, umm, huge rumor: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon “Google Me”, very credible source
For those who do not know, Kevin Rose is the founder of popular social news site digg. He has a somewhat spotty track record when it comes to rumors, so it may be worth taking his tweet with a grain of salt even though the idea may initially appear to be plausible.
While many would argue that Google is already competing in the social networking space with Orkut, the reality of the situation is not quite so black-and-white. Unlike Facebook, Orkut is not very popular in the United States, mostly having been adopted by South American internet users for whatever reason. A lot of the interactivity on Orkut is overrun by “brazilian mobs” on a frequent basis, causing people to feel uncomfortable with the service. The somewhat lawlessness of Orkut generally scares people away, in addition to the lack of truly compelling, unique features.
If Google really is launching a home-grown social network – Google Me – then it will be quite interesting to see how they pull it off. Would such an application make use features seen in other already-released Google products, such as Gmail, Google Profiles Wave, Buzz and Picasa?
What I would expect, and even hope for, is to see Google marry its many disparate services in to a single, unified social networking application. Rather than having yet another inbox – like on Facebook – integrate Gmail for such functionality. Use Buzz for the activity streams, synonymous with the Facebook news feed, offering both posting and mere reading. Wave could be adopted to be similar to groups while Picasa could be used for sharing photos. Google Profiles could be the very foundation for building a profile on Google Me. Google already has the making of the fundamental social networking building blocks but has not coupled the features into one application.
If packaged together in a unified, simplistic, intuitive interface these seemingly distinct applications could be forged in to one and work together as a true social networking platform similar to Facebook.
“Google Me” is an intriguing idea, and if executed correctly could be a very cool product. I look forward to this rumor turning out to be true. If it is true, expect the times to be quite interesting, especially if Google has been courting online social game companies like Zynga whose relationship with Facebook is on the verge of disaster as these companies seek less reliance on Facebook.
Are you interested in the prospect of yet another social networking site?