Facebook Plans A Google+ Riposte?


Facebook on Friday announced it is announcingsomething “awesome” next Wednesday.  Two interesting questions arise:

Q1: Does Facebook founderMark Zuckerberg’s “inadvertent”mention of this on Thursday amount to an announcement  that there would be an announcement about an announcement?

A1: Yes.

Q2: What might it be?

A2: The conventional wisdom says “iPad App,” but is that really worth a pre-announcement to the announcement of the announcement? Perhaps something even longer-awaited, and currently more strategic, is in the offing.

I venture this because a number of services are quirky on Facebook today. For awhile the messaging function didn’t work (I tried it on a couple of people’s accounts here at the office.) The groups didn’t come up on the home page, either.

Not to get too conspiracy-minded here, but those are the two key functions – groups and email — Google+ uses to organize people. Gmail has been revamped with real-time information about contacts on the righthand side of a message. If you are a Google+ member, you have an option of inviting in the person with whom you  are communicating (though for now that just goes into a holding tank). The “circles” feature of Google+, its most intriguing function, are a better version of Facebook groups.

That puts it to Facebook to make its groups work better and easier. And messaging is something  Zuckerberg has long vowed to improve, though last November’s effort ended up looking like a pretty paltry step. If the Z was serious, there is definitely more to come on messaging from Facebook, sooner or later.

Coming right back at Google+ with a better version of messaging – do you know anyone who really uses Facebook IM or email as anything like a primary source? – would show a nice competitive spirit.

Right now U.S. office workers are taking off for a holiday weekend. Is Facebook using what has to be one of its slower times to get ready for something bigger than an App?

I like to think so – though if it were true, someone would have probably leaked Zuckerberg’s inadvertent announcement of the pre-announcement.

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