Saturday, November 3, 2007

Snackbyte: Google's Best Move Yet - OpenSocial

Google's latest move in its fight to dominate all things web is one of its savviest moves yet.

With the launch of the OpenSocial platform Google basically commoditized the online application platform space.

Everyone expected Google to roll out a social network of its own, or make a bigger push for Orkut in the States. But instead Google decided to redefine the value proposition, side stepped the all out battle with entrenched competitors (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and instead created a universal platform for all social networks.

Google has effectively become the fabric that will weave all of these networks together. Social networks have effectively become "portable."

Here's how:

If an application can function and reside on all platforms (thus, pulling data from each) then this application can effectively unify a user's social networking experiences. So my data on Facebook will now be accessible on MySpace or LinkedIn. This adds a tremendous amount of value to my web experience without requiring me to become loyal to a new brand - in this case, Google.

Here's where the money comes in:

Let's say Google decides it's going to leverage its reach in the advertising and publishing markets in order to start a type of "product news feed" - similar to Facebook's Porject Beacon, but on a global scale. So if I buy something on Amazon, then all of my friends on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn will know.

If I'm an influential member of these networks then it might cause other people to buy this book as well. Google can then take a cut of the revenue generated through the sale or on a CPC basis and even decide to cut me in (the same way it does its network of publishers). This would be phenomenal and truly be the first global application to monetize social networking.

I can't wait to see what Facebook's next move is!

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