Google may be developing a Facebook rival

Google Inc. is in talks with several developers of 'Social' games and is said to be launching a competitive service to the social networking giant, Facebook.

The list of developers includes Playdom, Electronic Arts's Playfish and Zynga Game Network — a company in which Google recently took a financial stake in, which may be an indication of things to come.

Although the service, rumored to be called "Google Me", has no firm date, it is said to be in development from the developers in Mountain View California. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt declined to confirm the rumors about "Google Me", but when questioned further about whether the rumored service would be similar to Facebook Eric Schmidt had this to say: "the world doesn't need a copy of the same thing."

Implying, that if the service was real, the direction Google takes it, may be different to how the current social networking sites do things. It is no surprise that Google wants a slice of the social networking pie, with companies like Facebook and Twitter having millions of daily users.

Earlier this week, Walt Disney acquired Playdom for a massive $563.2 million, and promised a further $200 million if their performance targets are reached. This is proof of the massive money that can be made in the social networking industry. With developers paying Facebook 30% of all earnings from the purchases made within the games, this is a huge amount of money that Google wants apart of.

If this turns out to be true, it will be the newest attempt for the Web-search leader to break into the social networking scene, which would be useful for the game developers. For the companies to have another space for them to place their games, it allows more flexibility in funds, as well as enable broader reach for the games, as opposed to relying on Facebook 100%.

Facebook released a statement in response to Google's possible service, saying that the company "looks forward to seeing what others have to offer." With social networking being a billion dollar industry in China and Japan, and a $700 million dollar industry for the US, it is not surprise that Google tried to enter the scene with 'Buzz' in February of this year. With the release shrouded with privacy issues, the company has stated that it is only the beginning of Google's Social Networking services.

With the rumor that Facebook might launch a competitor to Google's, AdSense,which generates a large percentage of all Google's profits, giving it Billions of dollars every quarter. It is clear that the rivalry between the two companies is getting fiercer, so it would make it even more competitive if Google launched it's own Networking service.

For many years now, iGoogle has been allowing very simplistic casual games to be put into your own Google page. So the 'Google Me' service may just be a new updated version of iGoogle, or even just a re-launched Buzz service, though none of this is certain.

Google's, Eric Schmidt, said that Google and Facebook compliment each other, "Facebook users use more Google products than any other users."

Only time will tell if "Google Me" is real, but it will probably coincide with the announcement of partnership with Zynga games, which is said to be announced at some point in the near future.

Image Credit: Google Inc.

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