Google's recent acquisition of gaming developer SocialDeck is just
one piece of the puzzle involving Google's plans to launch their own social
network. Will this network rival Facebook or become another Google flop?
It seems that in recent times, Google has made some mistakes when
coming up with new programs. Google Accelerator, Google Answers, and Google
Wave are all examples of programs that flopped. And with the recent merger of
Yahoo and Bing, Google might be losing its grip on the search engine monopoly.
However, it seems that Google may have something up its sleeve. Recent
acquisitions reveal that the Internet giant has big plans for their social
network platform that is currently under development. And it seems they are
taking every measure to ensure that this next project of theirs won’t be a
flop, and can even rival social media giant Facebook.
This is evident by the fact that Google recently purchased social gaming
developer SocialDeck, which is one of five acquisitions made in August. The
popular games created by SocialDeck, such as Pet Hero and Color Connect, are
available across a variety of platforms, including Blackberry, iPhone, and
Facebook. SocialDeck uses their own social gaming platform technology, which
enables simultaneous game play across mobile devices and social networks.
With the acquisition of SocialDeck, Google will be able to integrate
SocialDeck's games into their future social network. In addition, Google is
looking to either purchase or work out deals with other social gaming companies
which work over multiple platforms, such as Zynga, Playdom, and Playfish, which
all currently produce games popular on Facebook, such as Mafia Wars.
It seems Google may have some big plans in store. Chris Morrison of
InsideSocialGames.com mentioned the possibility that Google is working on a
viral platform for the web and its own mobile devices, like Android. Earlier
this summer, Google purchased social application developer Slide, and also has
purchased other companies involved in social gaming and other aspects of social
networking. Just days before acquiring SocialDeck, Google purchased Angstro,
which developed Knx.to, an address book that combines a user's connections from
social networks. Google also has acquired Jambool, which makes "virtual
currency," and visual shopping engine Like.com. Each acquisition is another
piece to the puzzle of what Google is planning.
Google's activity has been generating a lot of buzz over the Internet. Many
speculate, "Will this social network," rumored to be called Google Me, "be the
ultimate social network? Will it dethrone Facebook as king of social media?" While the growing popularity of Facebook caused many people to flee from
MySpace, there is no guarantee we'll see people fleeing from Facebook to join
Google Me in the same manner, but it's certainly a possibility. With confusing
and ever-changing privacy policies, some Facebook users might be eager to make
the transition to a new social network. There are also rumors that the way
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was negatively portrayed in box-office smash
The Social Network might turn away Facebook users if they have another option
for social media.
While some are predicting success for Google, others are not so optimistic.
Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, has taken note of
Google's unsuccessful attempts at social media, such as Google Buzz, and
doesn't foresee Google Me as an instant success. He states, "So far, Google's
failed to have a hit in the social-networking space, swinging and largely
missing with both Orkut and Buzz. It's unclear whether a third, new service (or
a renamed Buzz) will do that much better."
Negative press regarding Google Buzz alone has caused some to be doubtful that
Google can gain a foothold in the realm of social media. Harry McCracken, the
founder of tech site Technologizer.com, believes that the failure of Buzz shows
that people may not want their relationship with Google to be a foundation for
When Google's social platform emerges, possibly later this year, we'll see how
these applications integrate and whether or not Google will achieve the success
it's after. If Google has made wise choices and can provide a social site that
provides users what they want, and has features not found on Facebook,
including clear-cut privacy policies, Google Me just might prove to not be
another Google Wave.