Interesting times at the Googleplex
Google’s rule as search sovereign is in no immediate danger, but uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. The pending Microsoft-Yahoo deal promises a stronger, if still distant, second-place competitor in Google’s core search and ad business. And now, with its acquisition of FriendFeed, Facebook looks to be arming for a fight over the untapped riches that real-time social search is believed to hold.
Google knows well what weight to give to this challenge. The four principles of FriendFeed are all Google vets who played key roles in products like Gmail and Maps, and while FriendFeed never gained much mainstream traction, it drew a passionate following of savvy early adopters for its versatile and powerful approach to social media aggregation and particularly its real-time search.