Goolge Inc- Finally pressing the Facebook panic button

Google Inc. is finally being rumored to have pressed the Facebook panic button. Digg CEO Kevin Rose started it all with his tweet (which has apparently been taken offline) about information he has gathered that indicates Google is working on a new social network called Google Me.
Finally Google feels it has to react to stem the growing influence of the ever so large Facebook. But if you ask me, the big G only has itself to blame for the massive popularity of Zuckerberg’s brain child. Orkut, launched in 2004, is in so many ways similar to Facebook and older.
But for some strange reasons Google seemed to have let Orkut be. A stagnant social network that was not used in North America is not deserving of the time of its engineers. And for some reasons too, Google thought the tidal wave called Facebook was just a temporary hype. Well now it is obvious they were wrong. And now they are trying to make it right.
I headed over to Orkut and the first thing I realize is that the Orkut logo at the upper left of the screen is shrouded by the words “My” on the left and “Beta” on the right. The rumors might just be true. Google for a long time has been one massive social network with disintegrated pieces. Talk of Picasa for pictures, Buzz for newsfeed, Gmail for mail, Profiles for profiles, Blogger for notes among others.
What was really lacking was a way to unify all these pieces into one whole such that once a person logged into their account, they had everything there and then. Google Me might just be aimed at that. One problem though that Google will need to scale was amply put by Jack Tse over on a discussion we having on Buzz. He states 

“Google’s problem is that their functional design works for mail and search but they have shown little prowess in creating websites that need to function on an emotional level. They need to hire talented creative directors and designers who understand how to grab somebody aesthetically and keep them there functionally to make any social product work. They need to reach out to Happy Cog Studios who have been a leader in standards and understand high level problem solving.”

Google might be well off having someone with the charisma of Steve Jobs to head its social network efforts. So far, it seems Google has scored in terms of engineering feat. What it needs now is something people can relate to emotionally.

4 Replies to “Goolge Inc- Finally pressing the Facebook panic button”

  1. I beg to differ here. Orkut is not bad, it's just different. Orkut is big in Brazil and India, 3rd world countries, where people seeks to expose themselves to make them feel better. FB, in the other hand, is all about privacy and secrecy. I would say that I like neither of them. Tweeter and Identi.CA are the best, IMHO. But, of course, Google needs to score many goals in this aspect of on line presence.

  2. Actually what I was inferring is that it is has been left to stagnate in terms of adding features and keeping it up to speed with others like Facebook and Myspace. Sure Orkut is NOT bad. It just needs polishing.

  3. I tend to think this rumor does have some bite and if anyone is going to challenge Facebook I think Google can. How hard is it to add an extra icon to the link-this protocols and attach it to their Android devices.

    Sinaisix is right that you have to be present in order to keep users happy. If users don't see you changing or improving you don't have a presence as all the user grievances go unheard they will just go somewhere else that is improving by listening.

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