Google has re-entered the social networking fray by introducing the Google+ (currently invite only). Amidst the backdrop of a Facebook-dominated market if anyone has the ability to tip the scales it’s Google.
This is largely in part to the ability of Google to integrate existing services (GMail, Google Talk and the Android Platform) into any new product. Google has somewhat of a catch-all approach much like Yahoo! had earlier in the decade for Internet services.
The difference for Google today is its ability to integrate new services with widely popular platforms such as Android and GMail. Android already is in harmony with Facebook as it will import all your Facebook contacts (upon request) to your Android phone. The same integration (and more) can be expected for the Google+ service. It’s no secret that Google has held a tight grip on Android 3.0– and with Android 4.0 (mobile platform) right on its heels one can reasonably anticipate the timing of the availability of Google+ and the availability of these platforms.
When you get that new Android device this time next year the setup will compel you to coordinate your phone with the Google+ service to better take advantages of Androids ‘features’ and thus the membership rate of the service will grow substantially. Facebook had this same type of thinking (purportedly) when rumors surfaced of a Facebook phone. The problem is when you sign up for a Facebook account you are not compelled to go out and buy their phone (that doesn’t exist to date). This is a legitimate concern for Facebook and its need to keep a continuing growing user base. Coincidently the timing of all of this will be taking place right around the time of the Facebook IPO. At which time Facebook will evolve into a company that will have to answers to investors – which could presumably change Facebook as we know it.
Who knew AOL would be entirely irrelevant by 2010? Will we be saying the same thing for Facebook in 2015? 2020? It’s anyone’s guess, but if anyone is up to the task it’s Google – and if you think Google is the only one with this in mind Microsoft may be a step behind (Bing), but has similar qualities in infrastructure compared to Google with its PC, phone and even gaming platform that it can integrate new products into. Picture having your X-Box LIVE identity linked with your social networking profile. Will their powers combined (and whoever else enters the fray) make a dent in Facebook’s dominance? Time will tell, but personally I wouldn’t touch that IPO with a 10ft. pole.