There’s a lot of speculation about a new Google service called “Google Me” that is supposed to compete with Facebook. Most likely, the service will expand the already existing profiles and activity streams, while adding support for social apps.
Wall Street Journal reports that Google has been in discussion with companies that develop social games for Facebook. “Google is in talks with several makers of popular online games as it seeks to develop a broader social-networking service that could compete with Facebook, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, said that “the world doesn’t need a copy of the same thing”, suggesting that Google won’t try to imitate Facebook. It’s clear that Google hasn’t anticipated Facebook’s success, placed losing bets and efforts like OpenSocial couldn’t save Facebook’s competitors from extinction.
Now that people spend a lot of time online using Facebook and find information filtered by their friends, even Google’s search engine can become less useful. A lot of information is trapped inside Facebook: social connections, status messages, discussions and Google can’t use most of the data to improve the relevance of search results.
Google has been more concerned with creating open standards for building social apps, for delivering real-time notifications, for public preferences, aggregating social graph data, but it didn’t manage to build a coherent user experience that links all these pieces.