Facebook v. Google, Round 1: Blood, but not unexpected

31 10 2007

NYTimes, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, GigaOM, Mashable all report on OpenSocial.

Richard MacManus from ReadWriteWeb probably puts it best: this aggregation is what Google does best, and it’s now Facebook v. MySpace v. Everyone Else (under Google).

The tactical move is to stop the constant attention Facebook is receiving from developers, at least evening the playing field for everyone. The details are a little unclear, but if it opens up any advertising opportunities for Google (even non-compulsory, as Google will likely get most of that ad space anyway), there’s at least some benefit in there for Google again at the top of the food chain.

There’s some attention paid to the one-upsmanship between Microsoft and Google, which really doesn’t amount to anything substantial. More reasonable attention is paid to whether this hurts Facebook. It’s a more significant blow to MySpace as Google’s speed is showing how truly slow MySpace is to react, showing MySpace’s lack of technology chops, and making MySpace irrelevant in the showcase showdown for the ultimate platform.

I undoubtedly believe this hurts Facebook in the long run, but it’s not unexpected. If Zuckerberg is as smart as everyone says, he may have already seen something like this coming. They’ve got a great product, and bought some lead time in being the developers’ choice for some time. Whether this limits Facebook’s potential growth remains to be seen.

What’s up next? The challenge to be really good at targeted (and social behavior-based) advertising, what I believe is Facebook’s only real chance to put a significant chink in Google’s armor.

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