Posted September 15, 2010 1:43 am by with 12 comments

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Google’s Chief Executive Eric Schmidt started a buzz or maybe a wave when he let it “slip” today that Google will be adding a  ‘social layer’ this fall.

Oh, there’s so much to discuss in that statement. First of all, ‘social layer?’ Some reporters are taking this to mean that Google will be adding social elements to all of their current sites as opposed to developing a new site specifically aimed at competing with Facebook. This being the case, it’s likely they’ll create a home page for people that allows them to link to and follow all of the related info from their friends.

Remember, Google already tried a similar trick with Google Buzz which was a horrendous failure. But Buzz was like Twitter meets Digg and not a true social networking site where you can spend virtual time with your friends.

The second part of the statement is the “this fall” part. Isn’t it fall? Or is he talking about calendar fall which will happen on September 22. Sure there have been rumors of a social site on the horizon, but are they really ready to roll out a major program in the next few weeks?

As for the “slipped” part, I wasn’t there, but according to Bloomberg, Schmidt dropped the info unexpectedly when a Facebook executive made a comment about Google building a social networking site. When questioned further, he wouldn’t elaborate, except to say that he hoped Facebook would allow Google access to their data. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

“The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data,” Mr. Schmidt said. “Failing that, there are other ways to get that information.” He declined to be specific.

If Google Me gets it even half right, they could be the first real competition Facebook has seen in a long time. Looking at the track record though, I don’t expect to see a mass exodus from Facebook anytime soon.

Can Google can put together a strong social networking site that’s strong enough to knock out the current king? What do you think?

  • Thanks for sharing great information about google

  • Honestly, I would love to see a Facebook competitor. Not because I am sick of Facebook or need a change, it’s just that competition is good.

    Google has togo out and LOOK for places to compete which is often why they fail like with Buzz. I admire their willingness to face the truth that diversification and competition are good things. If they don’t compete in social networking I think their core business could suffer as well so knowing that they are busy looking to move away from their dependence on search yet make sure the cash cow sticks around and is healthy for a long time to come.

    Of course, in our current anti-business climate this type of business will be harder to conduct but that’s one reason why Google has been lobbying DC as hard as they have been beating the pavement looking for a fight.

    • Totally agree with you, Frank. Competition is good. I think FaceBook has become complacent in a lot of ways and a competitor helps one improve.

      I don’t know if Google will succeed. Given their track record in this regard isn’t that great. But they certainly have the resources.

      • Robin

        i totally with you hal, google track record isn’t good, plus you also have to factor in that facebook has the corner on the market and the reputation. if google wants to compete then they have to be really good really fast

  • I believe facebook is a great threat to google. Only advantage the google has much more user database records.

  • dude

    I dont think Buzz is a total failure at all. In fact, my friends and i use Buzz in collaboration with our google reader and google chat several times a day. Google wave on the other hand was an epic Fail.

    • Cynthia

      I’ll agree with not a “total failure” but it certainly wasn’t the break out hit they hoped for.

      With Google, I feel like they have a ton of great products but each product stands alone – if they can find a way to be more inclusive with everything then they’ll have a great social networking site.

  • Eric

    Google should just buy someone like jive…

  • I think Google Me and Facebook will differ on privacy. With FB you could adjust the settings of who could view your profile and your updates, but allowing Google to open up its data some people might stop using FB.

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  • I think that presently facebook is having more page hits than google. Though google will launch its new social networking site (orkut is being a sucess in asian countries especially india) it will take some time to come to the way what facebook is now.

  • Google’s first two forays into the social arena have been disasters, which doesn’t bode well for Google Me. Part of the problem is their arrogant approach to the rollout. They just assume people will run with their concepts. Another more important problem is the focus of their users. Google’s cohort is far more diffused. Facebook has become a far stronger, more coherent brand far quicker, partly by taking advantage of Google’s very ubiquity. FB is a world within a site. Google is a series of apps that can be applied web-wide. Nobody talks about Google users the way they talk about Facebook users. Consequently, the assumption that Google users will use Google Me just doesn’t fly the way FB users will use, say FB Places.

    But if Google Me doesn’t fly it will signal, finally, that Google is assailable. The stakes really are that high.