The latest gossip to fly around the web is that Google is about to throw itself into the social network arena and launch a full competitor to Facebook. Since Digg founder Kevin Rose, tweeted (since removed) “Ok, umm, huge rumor: Google to launch Facebook competitor very soon ‘Google Me,’ very credible source,” sources have been investigating the rumours and the evidence is starting to pile up towards a launch. Google is reported to have been conducting focus group research into social networks, looking particularly at usability.
In a Q&A session, Adam D’Angelo, a former chief technical officer at Facebook, stated: “This is not a rumour. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.” A fascinating presentation on The Real Life of Social Networking has appeared online, produced by Paul Adams from the user experience team in Google. It examines how social networks (mostly Facebook) operate online and ways in which they fail to mirror social interactions in the real world: “The problem is that social networks we’re creating online do not match the social networks we already have offline. This creates many problems and a few opportunities.” The impression given throughout is that Google is working on something along the same lines as Facebook but modelled more closely on real-life interactions. This would not be the first time Google has tried its hand at social networking. Buzz was aimed at linking personal and professional lives through Google Mail but privacy concerns and a lack of innovation hampered its launch.
The Orkut social network has been active since 2004 and is extremely popular in Brazil and India but less so in the rest of the world. Google Friend Connect was an attempt to allow users to connect friends together on different websites, which again has failed to make much impact. With Facebook stacking up over 500 million users, it will be extremely difficult for a newcomer to the scene to mount a credible challenge. Will Google be more successful with Me than past efforts, or will the old privacy concerns rear their head? How easy would you find it to move away from Facebook? Let us know your thoughts below.
Article courtesy of guardian.co.uk