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Google Me Confirmed by Former Facebook CTO; Aims to Be “First-Class Social Network”

Adam D’Angelo, the former CTO of Facebook and the current head of Quora, has given considerable fuel to the firestorm of speculation about Google Me ignited by Digg CEO Kevin Rose when he tweeted that the company was going to launch a Facebook killer. “Ok, umm, huge rumor: Google to launch Facebook competitor very soon “Google Me,” very credible source,” Rose said in a since-deleted Tweet. (We’ve got the screenshot.)

D’Angelo has gone one step further: He’s staked his reputation and that of his nascent company on a set of claims about Google Me which, if true, shed new light on the venture.

In response to a Quora question reading “Is “Google Me” a fake rumour? Misleading evolutionary product update? Or is it really a new social network from Google?” D’Angelo responds:

Here is what I’ve pieced together from some reliable sources:

  • This is not a rumor. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.
  • They realized that Buzz wasn’t enough and that they need to build out a full, first-class social network. They are modeling it off of Facebook.
  • Unlike previous attempts (before Buzz at least), this is a high-priority project within Google.
  • They had assumed that Facebook’s growth would slow as it grew, and that Facebook wouldn’t be able to have too much leverage over them, but then it just didn’t stop, and now they are really scared.

D’Angelo being a former Facebooker, it’s worth parsing his words for braggadocio and bias: That last bullet point in particular about how Google is “really scared” reads like something prepared by Facebook HQ. That aside, that claims that a large number of people are working on Google Me, that it’s a high-priority project, and that Google has all but abandoned Buzz (Sorry, Robert Scoble) are all very much big deals. Oddly, no mention at all of Orkut.

One wonders if Google is a little late to this party though, particularly if they are “modeling [Google Me or whatever their network will be called] off of Facebook.” The battle to be Facebook has already been won by, well, Facebook, and its only real rival in social networking, Twitter, manages because it’s an entirely different service. Google has some mighty smart engineers who one shouldn’t underestimate, but social has heretofore been one of their weak points. A successful Google Me, if that’s possible, will probably be something which entirely dismisses the comparison with Facebook rather than aping it.

(Quora via Fast Company)

Related: Google Me should try to beat LinkedIn. (The Next Web)

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