Social networks have locked horns in the past as Facebook wrangled its way from dormitory to dominating the Internet in six short years. Now at 500 million followers, its outstripped the competition and in some regards considers itself its own sovereign state, third in size to only India and China. So how does Google with its lack of social networking savvy pose a threat?
It's no secret that Google has failed at previous attempts to scale the social media walls only to fall short of gaining any traction. Orkut, Google Buzz and even Google Wave have not been able to hit the proverbial target. Yet rumors continue to weave in and out of social media blogs and thought-leaders in the space still seem to think it has a fighting chance. Most recently yet another social network platform in developemnt, called GoogleMe looks like its making headway.
Michael ArringtonOne sign that Google is engaging in a full-court press to move forward in the space was intimated by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington earlier in the month when he was privy to a conversation overheard at a TechCruch party at August Capital. The upshot of the incident indicated that Facebook knows all about Google's social plans because they circuitously obtained proprietary documents from the Search Engine giant.
While this inside information has not been verified, it does lend credence to some of the actions Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg is initiating at the present time. According to Anthony Ha at Social Beat, Facebook appears to being working hard to fend off Google. Ha notes, "Specifically, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has declared that the company is on “lockdown” for the next 60 days, with the office open on weekends as the company tries to revamp Photos, Groups, and Events in advance of the Google launch."
The report goes on to say that Zuckerberg even has a neon sign emblazoned with the word "Lockdown" onMark Zuckerberg his office door. Apparently this term has been used by the CEO in the past. In the early days of Facebook, if someone wanted to leave the office, Zuckerberg would reportedly pound the table and say: “No! We’re in lockdown! No one leaves the table until we’re done with this thing.”
Coupled with these rumors, Google has since acquired Slide, an online leader in social entertainment at the same time it decided to close down its Google Wave enterprise system. This coupled with a $150 million dollar investment in Zynga doesn't bode well for Facebook. Not taking this news lightly, Zuckerberg like all good leaders of sovereign states looks like he is putting together a War-Room strategy that will allow him and his inner circle of consigliories to strategize and perhaps develop a pre-emptive strike that will thwart Google's next big push to enter the social media space.
And since the Chinese as the world's largest superpower and leader in Semantic Technology has the ability to tip the social media scales in one direction or the other (based on the sheer numbers of netizens), don't be surprised if Zuckerberg doesn't come up with a plan to gain support from this government. While Facebook has had its scuffles with Chinese in the past, nothing compares to that government's distrust of Google and their threats to pull out of the country earlier this year.
As these Social Wars play out, it will be interesting to see how many true Facebook loyalists there are out of their mighty 500 million followers. What army will you enlist with?