Consumers always want choice, and when Google was rumoured to be working on some kind of social networking service which would supposedly rival that of Facebook, the online world was abuzz with speculation. However, it turns out that the rumours were nothing more than rumours: Google has officially announced that it has no plans to release a Facebook competitor of any sort.
Read on to find out more.
For those hoping that a ‘Google’ alternative to the popular online social networking service Facebook would surface, be prepared to be disappointed. Apparently, even the deteriorating relationship between the search giant and the online social networking site has not reached a breaking point where Google will feel compelled to create its own alternative social service against Facebook.
The statement was made by Google’s head of mobile product development, Hugo Bara, who was in Monaco to speak at the country’s Monaco Media Forum. Barra acknowledged that the online social service segment was a key feature in a highly connected world that plays a part in deciding any online service’s success or failure, but insisted that attempting to build a social networking site just for the sake of doing so is not proper method to embark on.
”We’re not working on a social network platform that’s just going to be another social network platform,” Barra said in answer to a question. ”We do think that social is an ingredient for success for any app going forward, search and advertising being probably the best two examples that I would mention. So that’s how we’re thinking about the problem.”
This view was also echoed by Google CEO Eric Schmidt way back in September, where he claimed that Google’s direction was to layer on social networking services over its existing services such as Gmail and YouTube. In order words, Google’s plan is not to engage in a head-on clash with dedicated social networking sites like Facebook. Rather, the emphasis is on how the company is able to continue making its current services more social by including features which allow users to share in real-time various bits of information about their media consumption habits in a non-intrusive way.
This brings to mind what Apple had done with Ping’s ability to share tweets about the music users are currently listening to, to Twitter. If Google’s statements are to be taken at face value, it is highly possible that the online search giant is keen on following Apple’s practice with regards to its plans of making its current set of services more ‘social’.
Of course, that will probably have people wondering if Google and ‘social’ will be a good mix considering that the online search giant has had a somewhat embarrassing history where user privacy is concerned. More importantly, it also casts doubts about the prospect and future viability of Orkut, which is Google’s current online social networking service. But these are questions which only Google can answer.