Likes versus Links
A single Tweet sparked some intense discussions on the converging plans of the web's dual alpha companies this week. Digg's Kevin Rose posted a tweet (since removed) that Google was planning 'Google Me' as an obvious Facebook competitor. There was a quick confirmation from Facebook ex CTO Adam D'Angelo. Gigaom listed the reasons why the rumor is certainly plausible, although they were one of many blogs that were skeptical of Google's chances.
Google certainly has all the pieces it needs. Search Engine Land provided a recipe for blending YouTube, Buzz, Latitude and other Google products into a very high powered social network but they joined the meme predicting that a new Facebook is unnecessary and doomed to fail -- Google needs to come up with something different.
The thought of Google playing defense is oddly believable. Phil Bradley wrote of the attraction of Facebook's ability to hold user's attention for extended periods and why that must trouble a competitor who's initial business model was to shuffle the user off to an external page as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Facebook is building technical talent and has begun to use the new Open Graph network as a means to prioritize external pages within Facebook search.