Had a great discussion this morning with a co-worker. The crux of the conversation is Google vs. Facebook — who is going to win. Is Google Wave the game changer that will kill facebook?
Nope. We’ve really created three different product spaces in these organizations. We’ve got Google which is “defined” as an applications company (gmail, docs, apps, etc.) and facebook which is social.
Can Google beat Facebook or Facebook beat Google — probably not — I don’t quite see how my “who’s got prettier eyes” news feed item has any meaning on my “apps” page on iGoogle. Sure, in a tab, etc, etc. But, at the same time should facebook be a news feed, platform, or ??? Fundamentally, I don’t see why facebook isn’t pushing it’s platform harder and harder than Google. It would be nice to see every site offer a login with facebook, let me move my data my personality around the web. Make my friends part of my web experience, cut down on the “do you want to give permission” gunk. Go for two-tier access — anonymous FB vs. logged in FB.
That way when I click on the “who’s eyes are these” trivial quiz, I can participate without sharing all of my data, but then they can impose the “join” functionality when I feel like it.
Side note — the funny part is that facebook is great for accepted bi-directional friendship, but twitter proves there’s a solid marketplace for uni-directional friendship. Which is handled — weakly — by “fan” pages on Facebook. It’s probably a topic unto itself to discuss how business can utilize Twitter/Facebook to market their “fan” tendancies to deliver new customers.