Google Prepares the Ultimate Attack on Facebook: Social Advertising

Last week, Google announced the new OpenSocial standard. The new standard, which immediately was dubbed a Facebook killer by many, soon become the subject of many questions after one application was hacked and others noticed the less straight-forward model of Atom feed model that Google decided to go with. It became apparent that Google’s announcement last week was simply that: an announcement.

Over the next few months, one platform after the other will open up and many of them will be comparable to Facebook aside from the requests and notifications that developers have learned to love but users have come to hate. But as I suggested the other day, Facebook’s primary value is not their platform but instead the immense amount of data that they have about the users and the user interactions. All of this information is going to be monetized through Facebook’s new Social Ads advertising system that they are announcing tomorrow.

It has been well known for some time now that Facebook would begin serving more relevant ads to users. Where has Google been all this time though? Do they not want to launch a similar service? They do and they are about to. Google has been partnered with MySpace for over a year now and under their agreement with MySpace, they gained access to all of MySpace’s profile data. So has the Google ad team been twiddling their thumbs over the past year?

No way! Google has been optimizing MySpace profile data in relation to their upcoming social advertising tools that they will integrate into their Adwords system. Months ago, I heard from at least one Google employee that they are actively working on this new service. Then last week I heard a juicy rumor that I haven’t been able to confirm yet but which makes a lot of sense: Google will announce their social advertising platform soon after Facebook does.

Facebook, who recently acquired a New York City office has been focused on building relationships with ad executives on Madison Ave. There is no way that Google is going to simply welcome Facebook to the Big Apple. Instead they are waiting until the timing is prime to announce the upcoming upgrade to their advertising system. Whether or not this comes on the heels of Facebook’s announcement, I am not sure, but chances are it is coming soon.

If Google was willing to announce OpenSocial prior to its completion, I can guarantee that they are willing to do the same for social advertising. Their OpenSocial standard will also provide simple integration into their upcoming social advertising offering. While I may have been harsh on Google last week for releasing an unimpressive standard that may eventually impact the social web significantly, I am by no means underestimating the web advertising behemoth.

Google isn’t going to let a company that is currently bringing in $150 million in revenue quietly sneak up and pull the rug out from under them. Google is going to put up a fight and given that advertising is Google’s crowned jewels, you can rest assure that they will be providing plenty or resources to take on Facebook. Facebook will make the first move on Tuesday but look for Google to strike back soon after.

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