According to a 60 Minutes interview this weekend, Facebook and Google are on a collision course. Rumors of a new Facebook email product that insiders are calling a “Gmail Killer” could change the way we all use the internet. “Facebook knows how many people use its inbox messaging to communicate with other Facebook users and it’s a behavioral shift to switch out to Gmail, Hotmail or some other email service,” Ben Bajarin, analyst with Creative Strategies, told InterentNews.com. “If Facebook can control the email experience, that’s more time users spend on the site and that’s the key to their success, getting people to spend more time on Facebook, which leads to more opportunities for advertisers.”
Facebook’s 500 million users worldwide already spend more time on Facebook than they do on Google. If Facebook is able to capture the email market and then move into social search (as planned), the way we use the internet could fundamentally shift to a more socially-oriented model.
Furthermore, rumors abound that Facebook will also offer some type of Microsoft Office document compatibility, much as Google is already doing. This strategy is designed to entice visitors to spend more time at the site than they already do. . . and to attract business internet users as opposed to merely those who are interested in killing time by connecting with friends.
On the flip side, Google is also ramping up a social media service designed to compete with Facebook, but with Facebook so far ahead of the game, can Google really catch up? Google’s social service “Google Buzz” has been slow to take off.
What do you think? Who will come in on top and why?