Be it eavesdropping automobiles or opt-out social networking services, Google has been in the line of fire owing to privacy concerns on numerous occasions, but as those incidents recede into the archival department of public consciousness the internet mammoth is beginning to maneuver itself into the role of the archpriest of data portability. It is now warning users against the perils of importing their friends’ contact information into Facebook, “a service that won’t let you get it out.”
“We think this is an important thing for you to know before you import your data there. Although we strongly disagree with this data protectionism, the choice is yours. Because, after all, you should have control over your data.”
The company has been fighting a very public battle with Facebook over data portability, with the latter refusing to let users export their data to Google’s services (or any third-party service for that matter). This intransigence eventually prompted Google to block access to its Contacts API to all such third-parties that refuse reciprocal access to their data.
Ideally, this should have been enough to prevent FB from accessing Google contacts, but the social networking giant came up with an easy workaround by redirecting users to a Google page that lets users download their contacts. This friendly warning is displayed whenever a FB user comes calling for his contacts.
Despite the fact that Google’s concerns aren’t really all that altruistic as they may seem, it is making a fairly reasonable point. What do you reckon?
Google has been rumored to be working on a new social networking initiative called Google Me for quite sometime now. Even though details about the project are virtually nonexistent, that hasn't stopped some people from going as far as calling it a potential Facebook killer. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has now confirmed that the big G will be launching Google Me this fall as an added layer of social networking on top of search, video and Google Maps.
He made the announcement while speaking at the Google Zeitgeist conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. According to the Wall Street Journal, Schmidt is hoping that Facebook will at least allow the company's upcoming service access to Facebook users' contact lists. However, he also made it clear that the internet giant has a contingency plan in case Facebook refuses to be sporting.
Facebook has so far resisted Twitter's attempts to let its users look up friends on Facebook. Twitter launched the feature as part of its FB app only for it to be disabled within a few hours.
Diaspora hasn’t gotten a lot of press since they wrapped up their rather creative attempt at fundraising, but the founders want you to know that not only have they been busy, but that they will have code ready for public consumption by September 15th. The ambitious anti-Facebook project was a concept pitched by a group of New York University programming students who aim to provide a service similar to Facebook, but with much tighter user controls around privacy.
A recent blog posting by the four students involved in the project still hasn’t really told us what to expect just yet, but if we have to guess it will probably still be several months before we see anything that gets non-programmers excited. If a Facebook alternative is high on your radar you might want to mark off September 15th on your calendar, otherwise it’s hard to imagine this project being anything more than a pipedream in the long run.
If you've been dismissing the rumors that Google is about to take on Facebook in the social networking space, let this set you straight. Google has just bought social game developer Slide for $182 million. There are already murmurs that El Goog is looking to make more acquisitions of this sort soon. With this and a partnership with Zynga, Google looks to be building up to something. Google Me perhaps?
Slide makes simple Facebook games in the same vein as Zynga. Just like Zynga, these games are given value by having a community of players that can interact. This will be the biggest hurdle for Google. Just having Farmville or SuperPoke Pets on a social networking site won't cut it; there needs to be a community around it. Right now, Facebook is that community.
Google has many of the pieces of a social site with services like YouTube, profiles, Gtalk, and Buzz. They just need to be assembled with a few games for good measure. Can Google tempt people to join its own social ecosystem?
Google isn't particularly well known for keeping secrets, but according to TechCrunch the search giant has quietly pumped anywhere from $100-$200 million into Facebook developer Zynga to help develop a new "Google Games" web portal. If the rumor proves true Zynga would most likely play a key role in running the service, and provide Google with critical social graph information that would no doubt be beneficial in the development of "Google Me". The micro transaction approach taken in most Zynga products presents a huge revenue opportunity for Google in the gaming space, and would give them another application for Google Checkout, a PayPal competitor that has never gained any kind of critical mass.
Neither Zynga or Google responded to a request for comment, but branching out in this direction only makes sense for a company that recorded over $350 million in revenue during the first 6 months of 2010 and forecasts sales of over $1 billion by 2011. Even if you aren't a fan of Farmville, it's hard to not be impressed with Zynga's performance. With more than $500 million in seed capital raised over the last 12 months alone, we wouldn't be surprised to see virtual farms start popping up not just at Google, but even Yahoo or Microsoft portals as well.
It would appear PC Gaming is alive and well, and flash won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Sorry Steve.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave a speech in London today, and was predictably asked about a rumored Google social network. Ever the clever businessman, Schmidt simply replied, " That would be a product announcement, and I won’t say." So he's saying it's a product? Well, at least that's the way the interwebs are taking it.
Rumors have been swirling for the past few days that Google is working feverishly to rollout a Facebook competitor called Google Me. There are no real details on the service as of yet, but Google's track record in social isn't very good. Orkut has not seen wide spread use, and the Buzz messaging service opened to major privacy concerns. Whatever Google is working on, hopefully they are taking a different approach.
We'd place our money on this being some sort of expansion of Google Profiles, which have always felt underused. Maybe Buzz would find a new life as a service integrated into Google Me. For now, we'll just have to wait and see. If you have any theories, let us know.