Rumours of Google Me – a brand new Google social network that aims to take on Facebook – have been circulating for several months now, ever since Digg co-founder Kevin Rose used Twitter to state, “Ok, umm, huge rumor: Google to launch Facebook competitor very soon “Google Me”, very credible source.” (Try this at home; how many different social networks can you fit into a single sentence?).
Former Facebook executive Adam D’Angelo then added his 10 pence-worth by stating on his Quora website “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.”
News has also been trickling through about Google’s acquisitions, and all of them could well be viewed as essential ingredients to a social networking pie. And it’s not just a few of them, either. There’s been 18 of them, in fact, the latest of which is the purchase of Jambool, an online virtual currency platform and big rival of Facebook Credits – the only currency you can use in the social gaming on Facebook.
Jambool CEO Vikas Gupta came across pretty peeved with Facebook Credits in this interview with Inside Social Games, where he reeled off problem after problem with the system, including developers’ worries over a huge cut in their takings (30%) going straight to Facebook and a rather paltry level of 1-2% of social games players actually spending money, as opposed to the 56-60% that Gupta believes possible.
Jambool now join Zynga and former Facebook developer Slyde as the big names on Google’s roster.
So it seems that Google Me is very much on the menu, although of course, there’s been no official word from Eric Schmidt, other than stating to the Wall Street Journal that “The world doesn’t need a copy of the same thing”, which suggests that their new platform will be a slightly different beast to Facebook, although is sure to share some similarities.
So what can we expect from Google Me? No one is entirely sure – but with the recent acquisitions of 3 major games developers, social gaming is surely a definite on the menu. Also, we should take a peek at the work done by Paul Adams and Google’s user experience team; an extremely interesting presentation called “The Real Life Of Social Networking” – well worth your time if you’ve got a spare 20.
The presentation suggests that what Google are working on will involve social networking based more on real-world interaction than is currently available on other platforms – something that could place Google Me in a better position to challenge Facebook than previous efforts Google Wave and Google Buzz, both of which are considered failures.
However, whatever they come up with, it will be tough to eat into too much of Facebook’s territory. With years of building a huge user-base behind them, Facebook already have everybody’s discussions, likes, dislikes, groups and memories on their side – all emotional ties, which of course, are the hardest ones to break.
We wait on with interest…….
What would you like to see from Google Me? Let us know what you think in the comments box below….