Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Company that can save Facebook from Google Buzz

With google's announcement today of Google Buzz, everyone's thinking the same thing - Will this kill Facebook? After all, there were plenty of other social networks that fell by the wayside before. Remember Friendster? Or consider the decline of MySpace.

And it is not even a new product to signup for - All gmail users will get buzz automatically and everyone using gmail will have their frequently emailed users available as friends automatically.

If you want to find more information about it, please see this video:

Ccan facebook compete with this? Maybe not on its own. It is not that Facebook is not trying. Recently, Facebook also rolled out a number of changes, including a Message Center that looks more and more like Web-based Email.

However, I believe Google can build a better social network using their existing users and their existing connections than Facebook can build a better email. All signs point to Google emerging the winner here.

Except for one thing: Zynga. In case, you have never heard of it, Zynga makes many of the popular games on the Facebook platform, including Mafia Wars and Farmville. The latter has more than 60 million users, many of whom are very attached to their virtual self in these games. Ever since Facebook opened up its platform for external developers, companies like Zynga and Playdom have developed some really addictive games on it.

Try and compare this, if you will, to the Operating Systems wars: As much as Desktop Linux might improve, people are going to buy Windows PCs mainly because the applications they want and need are available on Windows. Sometimes exclusively and almost always first. As long as Facebook treats its developers well and creates enough incentives for application development partners to stay on Facebook and be loyal, it has more than a fighting chance.