A few days ago, Digg CEO Kevin Rose tweeted about a rumor he had heard that Google was launching a new social networking service called Google Me. This is supposed to be Google’s answer to Facebook. Now, backing up Rose’s claim, Founder of Quora and Former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo responds with some details. Apparently, someone on Quora asked if Google Me was a “fake rumor,” “misleading evolutionary product update,” or an actual new social network from Google.
In his response, D’Angelo responds with the details he’s gathered so far:
- 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.
Sounds like a pretty believable story. Google hasn’t really made any moves to address Facebook directly. They probably didn’t see them as any type of competition and I think everyone was a little surprised by how huge Facebook has become. They have branched out into areas beyond simple social networking, even providing ways for content creators to plug into the social network using advanced widgets. The talent grab from FriendFeed had a huge impact. Who would have thought something as simple as a Like feature would become so popular across the web?
Regardless of Google’s past, I don’t think they have ever really attacked social networking directly. Google Wave was always a collaboration tool, regardless of how so many may choose to compare it to Twitter or Facebook. Buzz is still just an aggregator at this point, not very flexible and still literally locked inside your inbox. FriendConnect was cool for a second, but it’s almost completely faded into the background as it wasn’t really connected to anything.
That is really the point. Google has all the pieces. They have the technology. For some reason, they haven’t really put things together yet. Whether Google Me is a reaction to Facebook’s success or the last step in a long-term plan to social networking dominance, I do hope that the rumors are true. Real competition for Facebook only means better services for users.