Tag Archives: biz

Composing a viable social network alternative, tips for Google Me

29 Jun

The web has been abuzz with news that Google is planning “Google Me” to compete with Facebook.  Google’s social network strategy should have the same playbook as their mobile phone strategy–exploit the competition’s desire to control every aspect of the user experience.

  1. Portability – You have to give me the freedom to leave as well as the freedom to quickly import my current facebook profile and to offer my friends the ability to join.  This may seem like a no-brainer with Facebook Connect but I doubt Facebook is going to actually help Google build a competitor.
  2. Search results control – I should have at least some control of what shows up when someone googles my name.
  3. Ultimate privacy and ownership of my data – If Google Me followed the proposed featureset of Diaspora and made their social network “personally controlled” and “open source,” you might see a big shift.
  4. Web Push and Pull – Facebook already allows you to “Like” and to comment on certain articles but you can go a step further by taking all of the content you create on the web and making it cross-linkable back to Google Me.
  5. Full Hoarding ability – Right now I use Flickr for photos, facebook for social networking, delicious for bookmarks; all so that I can hoard and keep track of my personal activity and the activity of others.  A universal space with privacy settings I trust and can completely control would be amazing.  I honestly would use Facebook for this but I don’t trust them to keep my data private.
  6. Buy LinkedIn – This only works if Google Me wants to operate as a social network that is slightly more serious than Facebook.  As Facebook becomes more and more MySpace-like, there’s probably a space for a different kind of social network. The additional benefit of buying LinkedIn is that you get a pretty massive user base that has LinkedIn as their only social network.

What’s interesting is that Google’s strength in this area cannot come from superior engineering (facebook is just as good) but must come from a cultural commitment to allowing users complete freedom over their information.

Google Me, the company’s answer to Facebook, may be real. But it’s a longshot. | VentureBeat.

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