What the Google-Facebook Battle Is Really About

Facebook’s silly scheme to plant anti-Google privacy stories illustrates the companies’ bitter rivalry and points at what they’re really fighting over. The competition is not so much about each company’s core business – search or advertising-powered social networking – as it is about future products and services, and their roles as technology platform providers.

Today in Social

Om called it. One of the beneficiaries of Microsoft buying Skype could be Facebook. Presumably, Facebook’s search and advertising partnership with Microsoft presents a easier path to continuing collaboration with Skype than if Skype had ended up at Google – although it’s not clear that was really an option. Last fall, Om wrote that Facebook should buy Skype to unify old and new style social communications, and build out a social directory. From a social media perspective, Skype is a serious contender for the role of unified communications hub, and has users and technologies that could contribute to presence management and identity authentication/management. All are key areas of competition and/or partnering potential for Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. Should be fun to watch.

The Battle for Unified Communications Heats Up

Synchronous communications like mobile group chat are the latest battleground in the war over unified communications, and despite what the startups say, they won’t be contenders in the race to build a single, unified hub.

The Battle for Unified Communications Heats Up

Synchronous communications are the latest battleground in the war over unified communications. Last week, there was a flurry of announcements on IM, chat, and group messaging. But no matter how clever and fun those apps are, they’re not the real contenders. The battle for what company supplies a user’s communications control panel is being fought among technology platform players like Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

What Facebook Messages Is Really After

Facebook Messages isn’t about replacing email. What the social network is really trying to establish with its recently unveiled unified communications hub is presence management, and this new "modern messaging system" is more concerned with intimacy and immediacy, as opposed to formality, flexibility and history.

What Facebook Messages Is Really After

Facebook Messages isn’t about replacing email. What the social network is really trying to establish with its recently unveiled unified communications hub is presence management, and this new "modern messaging system" is more concerned with intimacy and immediacy, as opposed to formality, flexibility and history.

Today in Social

The commentariat thinks Facebook’s “Gmail killer” arrives on Monday. One rumor has it that Facebook’s email will integrate Microsoft’s Office Web Apps, but it’s hard to get excited about another document editor (consumers don’t use spreadsheets or Powerpoint). Obviously, walled garden email is a non-starter, but how much would it really change the way Facebook thinks of the world? (It already distributes Like buttons and status updates, though of course there’s that ongoing battle over contact info.) Facebook has used its messaging tool for different kinds of alerts, with mixed results. If it squeezes in too many alerts, invitations, calendars – why is there no calendar in Groups? – Skype, chat, IM, etc., how could Facebook make an inbox less overwhelming for consumers? Would access to your social graph make auto-prioritization more powerful than Google’s? Perhaps we’ll see.

Why Facebook “Groups” Matters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the newly introduced Groups feature a “fundamental building block of the social web.” And if adopted widely, Groups could have a big impact on communications and identity management — both inside and outside of the social network.

Today in Social

Facebook is inviting the press to an ambiguous “event” tomorrow morning. Let the speculation begin. TechCrunch has five guesses. Several posts, interpreting the invitation’s wording (what is this, Apple?), think it’s about Facebook Events, coupled with Places. There are a few votes for a Skype integration. I could stick with my earlier guess – a new iPad app – but a revamped communications hub with Skype sounds likely, even though earlier leaks didn’t seem especially innovative. Presence and communications management is a logical role for Facebook. Could it make a better contact manager?