iGoogle was released in 2005 and could compete directly with Facebook. I say ‘could’ because even though it’s been around for four years I’ve only met a couple of people who are actually using it. The talk is always about Facebook.
This week Google upped the ante with the announcement of “social gadgets for iGoogle”. The Google blog explains:
“Social gadgets let you share, collaborate and play games with your friends on top of all the things you can already do on your homepage. Your friends are able to see what you share or do in your social gadgets either by having the same gadgets on their homepages, or through a new feed called Updates”
“compete with others in Who has the biggest brain? or challenge your fellow Chess or Scrabble enthusiasts to a quick match. To help you manage who you are sharing with, we’ve created a Friends group. You can add and edit friends in this group at any time.”
Sound familiar? The announcement was for 19 social gadgets. Compare this to the ten’s of thousands of apps (and growing daily) available on Facebook and you have an unusual situation: David vs Goliath and Google isn’t the big guy.
I credit Scrabulous with getting my own mother on Facebook so will she swap to the Google version? Unlikely, it has just over 8,000 users versus almost half a million using the Facebook equivalent. More importantly none of her friends are using it.
Google state that they actually have “over 60,000 gadgets today” created by “iGoogle developers” however if they want to make any major impact in this area they will need to change the mindset of people in the same way they did with search. Google is now a verb as in “I googled you” but to “Friend” someone is all about Facebook. The battle for the social landscape and mindset continues!