The Internet is alive with the sound of rumours – rumours that Google might very well be throwing their weight behind a social networking behemoth to rival Facebook. Hopefully it will be more useful than their Twitter competitor Google Buzz or the recently deceased Google Wave.
The mumurs and leaks suggest ‘Google Me’ is soon to be launched – but what about its competition?
The popularity of social networking websites peak and trough, barring the steadfast Facebook, but the landscape of 2010 is a distorted twist on how social networking used to be.
With the threat of Google Me lurking over Facebook, Twitter et al like a lion that’s missed its breakfast, we thought we’d look at how five of the Internet’s social networking websites will cope with Google’s possible cat amongst the proverbial pigeons…
1. Facebook. The one and the only – and it’s even about to have a Hollywood film released about its founders. It’s retained its basic skeleton and tends to meekly make minor changes rather than overhaul in a one-r. And with Facebook chat relegating MSN Messenger to a mere memory it is the market leader in 2010 and quite rightly so.
2. Twitter. The novelty of 140 character messages is yet to run dry – but when will the charm dissipate into nothingness? Integration with other social networking websites keeps things fresh, but despite its potentially timeless functionality it will always have the fear that it’s a slightly inferior little brother, devoid of its siblings’ colour, chat and camaraderie.
3. MySpace. Once a valiant king of social networking, MySpace is now a mere pauper. Still useful for music and bands but for little else, the website tried to reinvigorate itself with the launch of MySpace Music – which ultimately wilted in the face of Spotify. More and more unsigned bands are relocating to Facebook, signalling a death knell for the website. More suited to 2005 than 2010 and is destined to go the way of Friendster … or Friends Reunited.
4. Last.fm. One of the Internet’s more unconventional social networking websites, Last.fm is a cult choice, mainly used for music anoraks to collate and show off their listening habits. Its idea is extremely novel and market-leading – its social networking capabilities however aren’t quite so impressive. Limited interaction between users renders Last.fm a disappointing social arena in 2010 but its pull for music lovers should not be understated.
5. deviantART. Similar to Last.fm, deviantART caters for a creative subculture and as such enjoys a loyal following. Almost ten years old, it has outlived other more general social networking websites and is fertile ground for artists to showcase their work. Under the threat of Google Me, sites like deviantART and Last.fm will most likely be here to stay – unlike those like Bebo and MySpace, who might find their existence grow increasingly futile.