If the rumor about what the Google executives previously dubbed NBC and News Corp.’s idea for Hulu is true, I see them as being completely hypocritical. Around March 2007, rumors were afloat that News Corp. and NBC were parterning to develop a YouTube competitor and Google executives were supposedly not worried about it because they were reportedly nicknaming the company that didn’t exist at the time as ClownCo. Today that company is named Hulu and they have impressed the hell out of several media bloggers including Pulse 2.0, TechCrunch, and GigaOM. Mashable seemed to have a more undecided opinion about how Hulu will perform in the market.
The reason why Google would give such a nickname to the company is because of the number of players involved. Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo!, MySpace, FOX, NBC, and News Corp. were all involved somehow as partners of the company in some shape or form. But the reason why I am calling Google hypocritical is that they seem to be pulling the same trick: partnering with a large number of companies to try and one-up a company that they cannot stand to see score a good deal for themselves. Microsoft’s investment in Facebook is what I’m referring to specifically.
I am making a bold statement by calling Google execs a hypocrite, but I have to admit that I was partially influenced by the article title on today’s New York Times: Google and Friends to Gang Up on Facebook. And when hearing Google and Friends Ganging Up on Facebook, I think of a $220 billion search monopoly picking on a 23 year old with a good idea. Shame on you: Schmidt, Brin, and Page. You guys should just take some money out of the bank and take a bath in it or buy more Boeings.
Who is Google allying with? Other social networks of course. These social networks include:
Other companies involved in Google OpenSocial include Oracle and Salesforce.com. Just for the record, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch also mentioned that the only image associated with OpenSocial is a horny Elmer’s glue thing. As funny as that comment was, I agree that there is something highly wrong with this image.
All opinions aside, do I expect OpenSocial to really take off? I think developers will explore the prospects of OpenSocial, but won’t be as receptive to developing applications for Google’s partners. This is because Facebook’s core users are college students and young, urban professionals that are still receptive to adding applications that make networking more “fun.” And the social networks that Google has partnered with are losing their edge. As a recently graduated college student myself, I have personally left Friendster years ago and never looked back.
I think Google is an amazing service and will not sway from using their search engine unless something amazing comes along, but I think OpenSocial seems too much like a product created out of a grudge. And that doesn’t go along with their “Don’t be Evil” philosophy. When Facebook Applications were released, they were promoted as a way for developers to explore the creative senses while leveraging Facebook’s user base.