Open discussion: Google does Social Networking

This past Tuesday, Peter Whoriskey wrote a thought-provoking article in the Washington Post about Google's new social networking service, Friend Connect. Here at NDN and NPI, we're very interested in new tools like these, so we wanted to open up the blog to hear what others think of Friend Connect, keeping in mind the issues Whoriskey presents.

Some of us at NDN have already weighed in with our opinioin in the comments section, but we want to hear what you think. So, if you'd like to add your voice, you can post a comment. If you don't already have an existing account, you can register by clicking here.

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One thing that is interesting is that Google's later onset might serve as an advantage. As a college student, social network systems have had a stigma as a college resource to talk to friends, post embarrassing pictures, and leave uncensored comments. That is to say, what facebook and myspace means to my generation might hinder its potential in the future. Also, older generations (my parents) in general aren't utilizing these tools with such ease. While recent graduates and new businesspeople are taking advantage of these tools, older business leaders seem hesitant, if not reluctant to join a network previously dominated by kids. At least from my perspective, it seems that these tools current target a 20 - 35 demographic, which is good; however Google might be able to capitalize on something better.

Google Inc. has long established itself as a standard modern business tool. Highschoolers have Gmail accounts - and so do grandparents. Google holds strong legitimacy in the youth demographic, and might be more appealing for the older demographic (35+) as it gives these people a chance to join a social network in its beginnings, rather than joining a group previously dominated by kids. While facebook and myspace will most likely remain lopsidedly reliant on the younger demographics, Google might see a big boost in activity from this new social network idea as there is potential for older technocrats to join in. Also, the Google system will make it much easier for these people to engage as they can interact from the Web rather than through a specific site like or Friend Connect will allow website owners and online business to network without navigating away from their home sites. This feasibility mixed with the wider target demographic might give Friend Connect an edge.

Google's capacity for innovation seems limitless - however the sustainability of this endeavor will be interesting. In particular, I'll be interested to see how much resemblance occurs between the likes of facebook and Friend Connect. I predict Google will look to more seriously consider a buyout of facebook, but before then look for market competition to drive these to closer together.