Is Facebook the only social networking giant in town? Yes, for now, is the quick answer – at least among those bloggers responding to a Tweet from Digg founder, Kevin Rose on June 28 in which he seemed confident that Google was brewing up yet another social networking platform.
Google dominates in so many aspects of life on the web that it’s perplexing to many how they have failed to chip away at Facebook’s seemingly insurmountable lead. Their two earlier attempts – Google Buzz and Orkut – both failed to gain widespread popularity. But all reports suggest that Google is still serious about social networking, and that the latest project (with the working name Google Me) has significant manpower assigned to it. “Scared” is the word that crops up most often to describe Google’s reaction to the relentless growth of Facebook. Ironic, really, when you consider the power and precision Google has demonstrated in shaping how we use the web; in everything, that is, except social networking. One aspect of this faceoff that is virtually dripping with irony is the number of Facebook users cheering for Google to unveil a genuine threat to Mark Zuckerberg’s empire. The consensus among the disaffected seems to be that competition would be good – welcomed, even. With that kind of sentiment it seems more likely that Google could take a painful bite out of Facebook if they came up with a model that actually worked – but that’s the rub, isn’t it?