It’s funny the speed at which ‘buzz’ moves these days. About two weeks ago I’d only vaguely heard of the Facebook social network. Although by not being one of the heavy Slashdot/Digg consumers it’s true that I hear about a lot of things late. But all of a sudden there was talk of Facebook from all directions. First, I found most of the youngbloods at the search marketing agency I used to work for were on it. Next, a journalist pal tells me he’d had a lot of people asking him about it. And now the clincher – there’s talk that Google is trying to get a piece of the action and is rumoured to be in talks with this Web 2.0 babe.
Most of these rumours have recently come true (think YouTube, DoubleClick) so we could hear something more concrete quite soon. Parallels are being made with Google’s overtures towards Myspace, now owned by Murdoch. Although as far as I can tell, there are some stark differences between the two platforms, especially as far as Google is concerned.
Facebook is more of a gated community working on the network-building idea whereas Myspace is open – closer to the publishing model. Just check out their homepages: http://www.facebook.com/ vs. http://www.myspace.com/.So the tie-up with Myspace seems more natural, given that Google can only really display open content.
So when it comes to adspend and the Google Adwords model, how much can Google really make from Facebook? However, there is the other side of Google’s current development push which we tend to hear less of – that of the web document system – the online challenge to Microsoft Office. One of the powerful aspects of editing and storing documents on the web is the idea of collaboration. Perhaps this is where Facebook comes in – an existing network ripe for the injection of some cool online editing tools?
Although this could all be a bit premature – it is after all only a rumour.