Google Me, Facebook, Social Media and the Semantic Web

In the last few days, I’ve been hearing some interesting rumours on the social media scene.

The consensus is that Google are working on something behind the scenes that appears to be a direct competitor to Facebook. Supposedly entitled “Google Me”, it’s not entirely surprising that Google are rumoured to be doing this. Probably somewhat taken aback by the rampant growth and traffic that Facebook has been enjoying recently, it would seem that Google need something to prevent Facebook becoming too strong a competitor. They need to compete with Facebook on a level playing field. There’s no doubt about it that whilst Google are the King of Search, Facebook is the King of social media and social media is taking the web world by storm.

Google have dabbled in the social media scene with minimal to moderate success – Wave, Orkut and Buzz. However, they have yet to make any real inroads on this front. It seems that building something similar to Facebook might be the only viable answer for Google.

Whilst Facebook is a massive juggernaut that appears to be almost invincible nowadays, an attempt by Google to topple Facebook seems almost somewhat futile. Having said that, could this go deeper than we realise? Google could have an ace up their sleeve on the social media front. Search. If Google did build and create a social network similar to Facebook, Google could be one step closer to ushering in the semantic web. In a basic nutshell, the semantic web is about relevancy of information to an individual. Whilst elements of the semantic web already exist on the web, it is not yet fully realised.

By creating a social media profile in Google Me, Google could potentially use this information to provide semantic searches across the web that is relevant to the person’s profile. For example, if a person logged into Google Me and referred to their dog on a regular basis, Google could see this information and tailor the person’s search results for them in favour of dogs or dog related information. Facebook already does something similar; it takes information from your profile and tailors various advertisements and notifications to suit you. But, this only happens within the Facebook framework. The defining difference is that Google could tailor search results for you based on your profile across the entire web.

If Google are actually working on a Facebook competitor AND if they play their cards right, this could be a very interesting battle.