Warning: This is a rambling mess of a blog entry. More of a way of collecting my thoughts than a coherent article but interesting I think none the less.
Four of Googles last five business acquisitions have been relating to social media. These being:
Zingku Social network service
Omnisio Online video
TNC Weblog software
Does this signal their intentions to move further towards the social media foray? They recently introduced Google Wiki which allowed i-Google users to rate and re-order search results according to personal preference. This doesn’t seem to have been well accepted by the new media community and largely ignored by the general public.
Do Google need to enter the social media market? total 2008 revenue was cited at $21.796 Billion. Which by any account is a lot of money.
They are the masters of the search universe. They have a market leading algorithm which no competitors can touch and a whole industry built around their core product – Search.
But Google don’t seem as cool and relevant as they were. Sergey and Larry are older and not so down with the kids. Facebook and more recently, Twitter are becoming more useful as methods of locating information and contacts. For example, if I want to find out what general opinion is about the new Skittles website I could type in Skittles to Google. This will provide me with a link to the website but it won’t let me know how people feel about it. This I presume is Tim Berner-Lees semantic web. Dynamic by nature and constantly evolving, sites like Twitter, Friend Feed, Facebook can provide the concise sentiment that the internet currently lacks.
This is a long and round about way of getting to my question…when will Google enter the Social Media industry successfully? They could have bought Twitter 2-3 years ago but didn’t. They could have bought shares on Facebook but didn’t. They have recently purchased Zingku, Jaiku and Omnisio which are all concerned with micro social media channels. Googles Orkut is their only entrance into the social networking industry so far and although huge in Brazil, does not really register in the UK and only has 67,000,000 worldwide (compared to Facebook’s 175,000,000)
So my bet is on Jaiku being the next big social network IF it can bring something different to the game. Oh and it should also change its name, Jaiku is a rubbish name it doesn’t mean anything to me. It is currently in invitation only, beta testing so watch this space (thats the tiny space in between Facebook, Bebo, Myspace and Twitter. You can see it if you squint really hard.)