Just two years ago did anyone think that Facebook would be going head-to-head against Google for ruler of the Web? Google? Of course. The Internet giant had no peers in the search engine business, it’s Gmail had become the dominant email provider and it had added blue-chip tech start-up YouTube to its lineup, not to mention the even bigger purchase of Double-Click in 2007 (here’s a list of all of Google’s acquisitions)
The question wasn’t whether Google was king but whether any company could challenge its supremacy in the forseeable future. While Facebook isn’t in Google’s league when it comes to estimated market value, it has carved out a niche in social media that Google has, so far, failed miserably at tapping.
Now, it seems the gloves are off. Mashable’s Ben Parr writes about the heavyweight tilt in “Facebook vs. Google and the Battle for Identity on the Web.” Parr says that it’s Facebook’s 500 million users and the who knows how many more million Google users who are going to end up the losers:
Facebook won’t be using Gmail contacts anytime soon and don’t hold your breath for Facebook Connect on Google. These moves are to be expected from two companies that are essentially at war, but it’s the average user that has to take the extra steps to upload his or her Gmail contacts into Facebook to get started that is really impacted. It’s about the millions of users that won’t get the benefits of Facebook integration in Google or Gmail. It’s about a war that is only going to get uglier.
In a few years, the lines will be drawn between Facebook and its allies and Google (and whoever is willing to join it). Digital walls to data portability will go up if companies are forced to choose sides. If things keep going in the direction they are headed now, that is the likely outcome.
Image licensed through Creative Commons by Flickr user FindYourSearch.