Talking tech since 2003

After once having been a symbol of society’s social lifestyle, MySpace has lost a great deal of business and traffic over the last couple of years, and has ultimately become left in the dust as newer social networks such as Facebook steal the spotlight. Even after the overhaul that MySpace underwent a number of months ago, the fact still remains that MySpace is nowhere near as relevant in today’s society and culture as it was just a number of years ago. Things have gotten so bad for MySpace that News Corp – the company that currently owns the once prestige social giant – has handed out a series of pink slips to long-time MySpace employees and has even gone public that they would be more than willing to sell off the company if the right opportunity were to present itself.

Another company that is struggling in the social networking field is Google, Inc., who many people believe is gearing up to form a full-blown social network of their own, despite having tried (and failed) with a number of “social” ventures such as Google Wave and Google Buzz. With more recent news suggesting that Google is hiring a number of employees to work on social networking (among other things), it almost seems all to logical for Google to remedy their bad luck with social networking by purchasing and building upon the existing brand recognition and infrastructure held by purchasing MySpace.

Think about it for a second. It really would be a win-win. Google would be able to have their own social network without the need to build it from the ground-up, ultimately saving them a significant amount of time and resources. And perhaps most importantly for Google, they would be able to get a firmer grasp on the social networking field almost immediately, and would stop loosing out on the constantly growing “social” scene. The resources that Google would save by buying MySpace instead of building a completely new social network could easily be put towards actually improving MySpace; ultimately allowing the once popular social networking site to receive a new breath of fresh air with the simple potential of becoming relevant again.

However, as perfect as a Google acquisition of MySpace may sound, it is important to note that Google would also inherit the negative public image that MySpace has earned over the last year or so simply for being outdated and irrelevant. While I’m sure Google could revamp MySpace’s image, it would probably be a significant and resource-draining challenge, eliminating any advantage that Google would gain by purchasing an existing network. This is one of the reasons that I feel Google often acquires smaller and lesser-known “startup” companies instead of largely developed operations.

On top of this, a migration of MySpace – which would easily be Google’s largest acquisition – to Google’s existing infrastructure would surely be a logistical nightmare in the sense that MySpace is already a branched-out and developed network on its own.

It’s also important to note that Google already has a social network called Orkut that they purchased a number of years back. Where has Orkut gotten Google in the social networking area? Absolutely nowhere. With this in mind, I honestly believe that if Google’s acquisition of MySpace would be the nail in the coffin for the social network, and that neither Google or the MySpace community would benefit.

So this leaves us with a question. What is Google’s future going to be as a social network? Or MySpace’s future as an…anything? And most importantly, will their futures be together? Only time will tell.

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