Last February I wrote a couple of posts about how Google and Facebook were somehow challenging each other: Google was making a move into social with Buzz and Facebook was planning on creating @facebook email accounts. I did not expect much success of either and, five months later none of the initiatives has crystalized.
Now seems like Google is striking back with a social initiative, named Google Me. Apparently, according to Techrunch, it was Kevin Rose, Digg's CEO, who first mention this on his Twitter. A lot of comments have been made about this and Google is reportedly giving top priority to this venture. This is not Google's first move on "pure" social networks, since it already owns Orkut, which is very popular in very important markets such as Brazil.
I understand it if Google is worried about the Facebook effect. More and more people spend more and more time on Facebook (and on other social networks) and that means less time searching on Google and, in turn, fewer ad impressions and clicks on Google. Btw, some sources are claiming that FB's 2009 turnover was around $800m, more than doubling that of FY 2008...impressive.
I have to admit that I am curious to see the new thing that Google will be offering. That said, I am doubtful about whether I will be signing up. If it is to offer the same thing Facebook does, what is the point? And at the end of the day I will only sign up if my friends do so. Or maybe someone will be coming up with an app that will sync FB and Google Me... but then again, what's the point if the offering is the same?
Wait and see...