Google is restructuring its web properties in advance of the launch of its Google+ social networking site. Among the casualties are two of its most popular websites, the Picassa photo-sharing site and Blogger. Though the sites will not disappear, they will be rebranded to reflect that they belong to Google. In just six weeks,
Picassa will be renamed Google Photos and Blogger will be renamed Google Blogs. That way they will fit into the list of other Google Properties, like Google Books, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google News. Get ready for a a Googly world.
There is, however, one Google site that will not be rebranded. While Google shut down Google Video in May, that was largely because it also owns Youtube, the biggest of all video-uploading sites and a brand unto itself. Google may be competing against Facebook, but Googlephiles can be reassured that the social networking site, ranked #2 on the internet by Alexa, is neatly sandwiched between two Google sites, Google proper and Youtube, in the first and third places, respectively.
Another imminent change is the deletion of Google Profiles, scheduled for July 31. Public profiles will be transferred to Google+, while private profiles will be deleted.
Meanwhile Facebook is fighting back. It has recently blocked a Google Chrome extension that would allow users to export their Facebook friend lists to other applications, such as, say, Google+.
“Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends,” says Mohamed Mansour, who developed the Friend Exporter for Google. “They started to remove e-mails of your friends from your profile by today July 5th 2011.”
Facebook claims that the Exporter violates their terms of service, which prohibits users from, “collect[ing] users’ content or information, or otherwise access[ing] Facebook, using automated means without our permission.” Mansour hints that the real reason is to hinder Google+’s ability to compete with Facebook. Though his program may no longer work, Mansour says that he is already working on a way around the restrictions.
One question that should be asked is whether Mark Zuckerberg himself used the Friend Exporter to bolster the number of friends he has on Google+. Ironically, the Facebook founder has the most popular profile on his arch-rival’s site, with 29,000 friends. In contrast, Google CEO Larry Page has only 20,000 friends, while co-founder Sergei Brin has only 15,000.
Google’s battle with Facebook is on. Google Cyberwars, anybody?