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.Sharing is Caring: