Will Google's "Me" Succeed?
No. I don’t think so.
Before I explain my educated guess, let’s back up a bit and get everyone caught up.
There have been rumors for a while that Google is working on a new social media site. Those rumors yesterday seemed to be confirmed in an article on Techcrunch. The site is said to be called “Google Me”, and while Google seemed to have Twitter in mind when it created it’s Buzz service, Google Me is said to directly target Facebook.
Assuming all of this is correct, it means Google is trying to create a Facebook killer. Will it succeed? Obviously it’s too early to tell, but I’m going to go out on a limb anyhow. If “success” is making a serious dent in Facebook’s dominance of the social media market, then I believe the answer is “no”. Here’s why:
- Google hasn’t yet shown that it can succeed in the social media space. Buzz was Google’s best shot so far, and in my view it’s been a relative bust. It’s hard to call it a true bust because Google can claim millions of users, but those numbers are a charade because the service is tied into Gmail, and Gmail users almost automatically signed up when the service became available. I don’t see any signs that a huge percentage of those users are actually USING Buzz.
- People’s lives are tied into Facebook. Not only that, but their friends’ lives are tied into Facebook. For Google to draw any significant number of Facebook’s more than 400 million users away, Google will have to demonstrate not only that Me is better than Facebook, but also that Me users will be able to find their friends there.
- We don’t need another Facebook. We already have one.
- A large number of Facebook users have been pretty ticked off by Facebook’s well-documented privacy screw-ups, but those users haven’t left yet. You could say it’s because there wasn’t an alternative, but I say it won’t matter because of point #2.
I’m not saying Google shouldn’t make the attempt. Google has its own very successful advertising system in place that it could easily port to a Facebook-like site, so it makes a certain amount of sense to try to find new places to show those ads. However, in my view Google is best at providing services, not destinations. I am a a Google services “fanboy.” I use Google Search (of course) and its daily alerts, Gmail, Google Voice, Google Reader, and Google Docs. But, if you’ll excuse a reach on an analogy: Jjust because I like my cell phone provider, doesn’t mean they’re the best company to also provide my daily news.