Google rumored to be building a Facebook competitor

Silicon Valley is speculating that Google is working on a social network to compete with Facebook, called Google Me, reports the Los Angeles Times. That speculation stems from a tweet by Digg CEO Kevin Rose that he has since deleted and from comments on Quora from former Facebook CTO and Quora founder Adam D’Angelo. D’Angelo wrote that he had heard from reliable sources that Google has made the project a high priority. Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt wouldn’t comment, but did not deny the rumor at the Guardian’s Activate conference July 1. So far, Google’s attempts to create social networks have not met with much success. Google Buzz, which it launched earlier this year, has not taken off. Its social network Orkut, which has been around since 2004, is popular in Brazil but reaches only 2 percent of internet users. But Google already has a significant number of social properties, including YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, and Google Latitude, not to mention Google Profiles, which it could roll into a single platform. It’s unlikely that Google is preparing to roll out a Facebook clone; whereas Facebook is basically a universe unto itself, Google emphasizes openness. A Google service that runs on open standards and with an open ID system—letting users punch in one password on multiple sites, take their personal data with them when they leave a network, or maintain the same profile on multiple services—could give Facebook, which has come under fire for its privacy policies, a run for its money…

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