Google Me Coming this Fall

1 10 2010

Eric Schmidt has confirmed that “Google Me” is not just a rumor.  It is coming “sometime this fall.”  Google Me has been described as a social layer that is integrated with their current offerings such as Search, YouTube, and Google Maps.

Google’s intent with Google Me is to allow users to access information and profiles that they have created on other sites such as Twitter, Flickr, and others.  They are also trying to get access to the data on Facebook.

Google is also looking to partner with some of the big game companies on Facebook.  They have said that they will integrate with Zynga and have a stake in the company.

These rumors have been confirmed in:

Reuters

WSJ (you will need to read down a bit in this article)

What’s driving Google

  • First of all, social media is hot and Google needs to be a part of it to continue to be a leader in the online world.  Google’s Orkut has only been successful in Brazil and India and Google Wave was killed last month.  Google has learned from both experiences and will incorporate that learning into their approach with Google Me.
  • Social Media is an opaque world to search, the core of Google’s business. As more activity moves to Social Media, Google is getting left out.  With Facebook at 500 million users, the strategic threat is significant.
  • Advertising.  This is the core of Google’s revenue stream.  As we have discussed in the two previous blogs on this site, the growth rate for search ad revenue is slowing while it increases in display ads, particularly banner ads and video ads.  Google’s model is to place ads within the context of what users are doing.  As they lose visibility to user activity online, they lose the ability to place useful ads and their overall relevance decreases.

Google’s strategic need for Google Me is clear.  The details remain to be seen.  The key issue is how Google gets over the hurdle of the 500 million Facebook users.  This is a classic “barrier to entry” in the social media space.  Users do not want to build and manage multiple online presences and profiles.  Can Google deliver a service that:

  • Fits naturally with the way people work and interact online
  • Provides significant value to users over and above what they have today
  • Allows users to leverage existing network relationships without having to re-build them on another site
  • Respects people’s privacy.  Google has had troubles in this area such as the way they implemented Google Buzz and Street View.
  • Aggregates many different online activities in one place, making it easier for people to manage their virtual lives

We should not have to wait too long to see.

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