Google has everything – amazing search capabilities, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Earth, Picasa, YouTube, etc. But there is one major area online where they have been absent – until now. With the launch of Google Buzz in early February, Google has now officially entered the Social Networking market – Facebook beware!
Earlier this year, I declared Facebook the Social Media King of 2009 – and with good reason! Facebook made up almost 60% of Social Media site visits in Canada, and was the country’s most popular site – ahead of guess who? Google. As I wrapped up that blog, I left the reader with some interesting parting words:
“And with that, our top ten is done. Who will be Social Media King of 2010? Will Facebook repeat as champion? Or will Twitter continue to make a push for the top spot? Maybe an entirely new site will emerge. Time will only tell.”
Now I am no Nostradamus, but I will take credit if the “entirely new site” that emerges turns out to be Google Buzz. Maybe one day my blog will be celebrated alongside “Les Propheties”. On second thought, probably not. Jokes aside, Buzz is a very serious threat to the reigning King, Facebook.
Seriously, what is all the Buzz about?
Google Buzz is used for status updates, photo sharing, recommended links and connections. Unlike other budding Social Media sites who have the dubious task of attracting new users from scratch, Buzz is automatically embedded into users’ Gmail accounts. So on that fateful day in February, I logged into Gmail and low and behold, Buzz was already there! My Brother, Dad, and friends were miles ahead of me – status’ updated, photos posted, links shared! How easy was that? I didn’t have to do that tedious sign up process…again! Name, age, gender, password, retype password, etc. The Internet is fast paced, people are strapped for time. What’s that old saying? A New York Minute? It should be “An Online Minute”.
So you may have noticed that I have only been warning Facebook, and not other major players such as Twitter. This is because it is quite evident that Google is using Buzz to take them down specifically. Google Buzz is linked up with Twitter, Flickr and Picasa – but not Facebook. While some believe that excluding Facebook is a suicidal mistake because of their 400 some odd million users, Google is at ease. With their current user base of 175 million users, Google is confident that they can take down the giant. This is a classic case of an attack based on envy – after all, who wouldn’t want to be king?
As any good King would do when attacked, Facebook has not just sat back – they have fought back. Just two weeks after Buzz was launched, Facebook earned a US patent on their news feed – the bread and butter of their site, and an essential element for most Social Networking sites. Industry analyst Rob Enderle explains Facebook’s actions as “a defensive move against Google. Facebook is probably more concerned about Google than Twitter and MySpace combined and squared. Any time a 600 pound gorilla enters your room, you are pulling out your heavy weapons.”
So don’t expect Facebook to stop at patents. The King will most likely begin sending out his whole army to fight the Buzz.