Jeremiah Owyang, Forrester's Social Media analyst just Tweeted about having met with Google. He went out of his way to make a comment that Google has invited Facebook people to the meeting as well. The "Tweet" seemed to imply that Google and Facebook are best buds. I don't buy it for a minute.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Make no mistake about it, Google and Facebook are no best buddies, think of it more as Co-opertition.
Google has a talent for looking down field, it’s just that they are horrible about executing on their vision. Schmidt recognized the bizillions of page views that social networks get, and that might have been the original catalyst for Google’s initial Orkut (social networking) initiative, and once failed their now Open Social plan. Facebook owns this space, and Google wants to be best buds, but not for Facebook’s billions of page views.
Facebook will eventually become Google’s strongest competitor (yes, not Microsoft, not Yahoo, Facebook). This is not because of what Facebook is perceived as today (a social network with billions of page views). This is because as the web becomes “smarter” (phase #1 we are amassing an amazing database of information about everything and everyone), we will mine both semantically and intelligently (phase #2) the enormous data that is the “web”. Social networks have an even larger advantage in that their data contains more personal attributes. When married to general web (non-social) data, this new social intelligence will provide for an entirely different “marketing” experience then how we currently interact with advertisers and brands today.
Going forward, with the ability to take ones’ social network with you everywhere (phase #3) Facebook will have now gotten a potentially life threatening edge over Google’s bread & butter. I am not talking about Facebook the social network, or even about Facebook the marketing platform. I am referring to Facebook as the *new* Google adwords.
Facebook is putting into place all the pieces it needs to run it's own Adwords network. This means that Facebook will no longer be pitching to brands about marketing solely on the Facebook platform. It will mean pitching to brands that they now have the same global scale and reach that Google has, but with a better, and smarter algorithm to boot!
Google sees it, Facebook knows it, do not believe for a minute that these to 800 pound gorillas will not end up face to face, Mano to Mano at some point in the next few years.