Web world is abuzz with rumours that Google's Facebook rival is in works. The rumour mill began churning after Digg founder Kevin Rose posted a tweet last weekend (saturday to be precise), saying, "Ok, umm, huge rumor: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon 'Google Me,' very credible source."
Wondering how Google Me will really work? Experts believe that Google already has almost 30 different social properties that it has acquired or built including YouTube, Picassa, Google Profiles, Google Docs, Google Friends Connect and Google Latitude. So, the company largely has almost every component that it requires to built a Facebook killer. All it needs to do is a bit of organisation and create a common platform for all these networks.
However, so far Google is still to get a hit in the social networking space. Orkut, one of the pioneers in social network, today has little following except in Brazil and India. More recently, the company made another foray into social networking arena with Google Buzz, which aims to upgrade Gmail into a social networking hub from just an e-mail service. However, the service has been relegating to more of a Web 2.0 sharing tool than a social networking hub.
Several analysts also wonder if Google would really risk waging a full-scale war against Facebook, which has seen its fortunes soar in the past year.
Writes eWeek's Clint Boulton, "Google challenging Facebook in social is like Facebook challenging Google in search," he writes. "People are comfortable socializing on Facebook, which is where their friends (and their friends of friends are) and they are comfortable searching on Google, which is where all of the data about businesses, places and other facts live. Unless and until there are technological improvements on both sides, paired with practical user behavior shifts from consumers, never the twain shall meet."
While analysts may continue to debate the issue, the rumour has been further fanned by Adam D’Angelo, former Facebook CTO and now founder of Q&A service Quora (on Quora only).
Here's what Angelo wrote on Quora.
* 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.