Om Malik of GigaOM writes about Google being afraid of Facebook. It’s about Google launching OpenSocial, something to compete with Facebook in the Social Web arena. A lengthy read, and somehow worth it. However, I also made it a habit of reading the comments. The article itself is well-written, and Om deserves a commendation for writing very well. However, some commenters mentioned that Google isn’t afraid of Facebook, or anything else for that matter as Google has very deep pockets, both intellectually and financially. A commenter even said that Google just wants a piece of the pie in every growth market.
This maybe true.
Take YouTube, for example. Why would Google buy a video-hosting company when they have Google Video? Because they can. Google’s motto, “Don’t be Evil” is maybe something they would have to reinforce as the opposite is what’s coming across from their actions. I’m not saying Google is evil. Google might be eyeing world domination, something I’d welcome. Google Apps makes it a lot simpler and easier to manage a lot of things related to web services bringing Web 2.0 to a lot of noobs, whatever the heck Web 2.0 is. AdSense helps me monetize my site, although not as much as I hoped it would be. GMail works, IMHO, a lot faster than Outlook Express. And it doesn’t matter what operating system I’m using. Google indexed the Internet, making it a lot easier for people to look for information, something that Yahoo was known for a long time ago, yet they dropped the ball by staying lax and over-confident.
OpenSocial, to my understanding, is a “standardized” set of APIs so that middleware companies’ developers use a unified way of, well, developing web applications that can be used on multiple sites. That’s not so bad, is it? Facebook has an API that developers can use so they can develop apps that work in Facebook. Only. Is that so bad?
Om’s article talks about Facebook having an edge on delivering a more personalized and a more targeted contextual advertising than AdSense because Facebook knows a user’s personal and professional information, as well as likes and dislikes, and what types of friends they are connected to, and that it is an “exclusive club.” What about LinkedIn? What about Multiply? What about MySpace? They also have those information. And LinkedIn knows more about a user’s professional info as it caters to professionals seeking ways of making their accomplishments, career-wise, more accessible, making the user, in turn, more marketable.
The ultimate winners of this “war” would be the consumers looking for a better alternative. And free doesn’t cut it anymore.
Although the article is well-written, and provide facts, the bottom line is that the article is still just an opinion of the author. Much like this article. I have no problem at all in believing it. But I won’t be subscribing to the point of view that Google is afraid of Facebook. Is Google even trying to compete with Facebook? There are other Social Networking sites, and I admit that Facebook apps are quite engaging, if not addicting. But is there even a contest when a company is going up against Google? Or when Google sets its googly eyes on one?
The only thing Google is afraid of is Chuck Norris.