It’s no secret that the folks in Palo Alto and the folks in Mountain View don’t get along. In fact, the Facebook vs. Google rivalry is starting to emerge as one of the most intriguing web battles of our generation.
In the latest exchange, Google has banned Facebook from access to its Gmail accounts. Google won’t let Facebook users connect to their Gmail and import contacts into the Facebook accounts. Why? Because Facebook wouldn’t share with Google.
If it sounds juvenile, you’re missing the crux of the matter. The bigger story is an all-out struggle for control over identities (read: profiles), user traits, access, and ultimately, advertising. According to Wired Magazine, “Google is likely picking pick this fight now because of an anticipated launch of a competing social networking service, rumored to be called Google Me.”
It’s no secret that Facebook has more monthly users than Google (the search engine giant was caught and passed by Facebook in America during March of this year). And Google appears to be doing all it can to come up with an answer. Facebook’s connectivity seems to be one of the key differences — one that draws in users, in a way that Google has yet to discover. On the other hand, Google is 12 years old and has established itself as the go-to search engine. It represents success and innovation, and its brand is strong.
It remains to be seen if Google Me has what it takes to challenge Facebook… but things are going to get very interesting in 2011…