The unprecedented success of Facebook in the social media space has seen plenty of would-be competitors fall by the wayside, most notable Myspace. It now appears that the California-based “nerdopolis” known as Google is preparing to challenge the social media icon for market share, and many analysts are expecting them to continue acquiring bite sized tech companies leading up to the launch of their platform, “Google Me”. The most recent of these buyouts occurred last week with Ångströ, which Google purchased largely for their social media integration capabilities and super-focused search engine functionality. If Google expects to compete with Facebook, one major area for them to potentially make headway is with privacy issues/policies – unfortunately this is something that Google has already struggled with in their Buzz and Latitude offerings.
With privacy advocates now more and more concerned over the recent release of Facebook’s “Places”, a location based service meant to connect users with friends and brands, Google appears to have an opening and may be able to attract users with the right mix of functionality and confidentiality. Some major strikes against Facebook in the privacy arena have been the complexity of its privacy agreement and settings, sharing data with 3rd parties (most notably advertisers) without explicit user consent, the difficulty of deleting a user profile and several high-profile hacking instances, Turkish and otherwise. Clearly Google has the scale necessary to compete and make substantial gains in the social media space, even against an established giant like Facebook; whether or not they’re able to actually pull it off with “Google Me” will hinge on their ability to execute where the incumbent has shown signs of weakness and leverage their own substantial, existing user base.


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