Ben Parr over at Cnet believes that Google will eventually win the social networking battle against Facebook thanks to the success of the company's Google Chrome web browser. The argument goes something like this: With Chrome becoming the most popular browser on the Internet in the next twelve or so months, and a feasible integration of Google+ in the browser, comes Google's chance of taking the number one social networking spot from Facebook.
While it is debatable if and when Chrome will take over Internet Explorer's top spot, it is likely that the browser will stay near the top web browser market share. The release of Windows 8 could reverse the trend somewhat, and with Mozilla finally bringing Firefox back on the right track, it is not clear how things will turn out between the three browsers.
It is also not clear if Google will integrate their social networking service Google+ into the browser natively. While it possible that they will do that at one point in time, it is as possible that they won't integrate the service into the browser.
The integration of Google+ in Chrome would surely increase the social networking site's user base. But it is not clear by how much, as it would depend on a number of factors. First how Google would integrate their service into the browser. If it is too annoying, tit could irritate the user base that does not want the integration in the browser. If it is barely visible, it might not get the traction to take Facebook's coveted number one spot.
Ben's solution nevertheless is that Facebook should create a Facebook browser. He does not believe that an integration into Microsoft's Internet Explorer (Firefox does not get mentioned at all) would help Facebook as it would not be a "game-changing move".
Creating their own browser would be a major undertaking even for a company like Facbeook. It took Google nearly three years to get where they are now with the Chrome browser, and that was largely due to the excessive cross-promotion of the browser on other Google properties. Chrome would have taken off either way, but the market share would not be anywhere near where it is now without the promotion.
To succeed, Facebook would have to create a browser that would be compatible on a technology level. It is not enough to create a browser that users can use to visit and use Facebook. The browser would have to compete on all levels and that does not seem feasible at this point in time as the company would be hard pressed to assign the development resources to such a big project.
Lets assume for a moment that Google does integrate Google+ into Chrome, and that Facebook has not created its own browser. Does that mean that Facebook users will use the social networking site less than before because of the integration? Unless Google blocks users from accessing Facebook in the browser, or displays a message that promotes Google+ whenever they do, it is unlikely that it will impact Facebook's market share.
And even if Google+ gets additional users, it does not really mean that those users won't be on Facebook as well.
Facebook lastly has other options to stand its ground. From integration into Windows 8 (for instance as a prominent tile in the operating system's new Metro start screen), to a cooperation with Mozilla.
What's your take on the suggestion?
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