Google has been on a buying spree for social media companies. In 2010 alone, social companies Aardvark, Slide, Jambool, Like.com, Angstro and SocialDeck have been acquired by the search company. The past five companies they have bought are social-related. This doesn’t include a $100 million investment in social media games maker Zygna, which makes the popular FarmVille, among others.
It’s clear that in the coming months Google plans to launch something big, notwithstanding other projects such as Chrome OS and Google Music. It’s possible that the company believes that any social networking strategy could be the “glue” so to speak that holds many of these services together.
It’s all a part of trying to keep users on Google’s services since they are starting to see a lot of eyeballs move from Google and sticking on Facebook, since people spend a lot of time on that site. Consider this recent graph released by Business Insider, and you’ll see what executives at Google see as a potential threat from Facebook.
That’s all Google-branded sites versus Facebook. Dot com.
Although Google probably cannot diminish what Facebook has already done, they can create something that is complementary to their own services. People are still going to continue to use Google, and even use it for getting to Facebook’s site. What Facebook really lacks are core services that people might be interested in using such as e-mail and news. But that could be changing as many Google employees hop over to working for Facebook.
Indeed, TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington reported yesterday that Google employees that attempt to leave the company for Facebook are being offered sweet deals to stay. The promise of a pre-IPO company like Facebook offers a great deal of potential for enterprising engineers.
But could Facebook compete with Google’s technological prowess? Most likely not, and I doubt that we will see Facebook launch its own productivity suite or operating system anytime soon. Although some do see a world where Facebook offers e-mail service as ideal, don’t we already all have e-mail addresses? I mean, you needed one to sign up for Facebook anyways!
Of course, once Facebook is a public company post-IPO that may change.