The battle begins between Facebook, Google

Heath Verhasselt

Rivalries have been around since the beginning of time. You know, the real big ones: Yankees and the Red Sox, Ninjas and Pirates, the Bulls and the Jazz in the ’90s, the Cyclones and that other team. You know what I mean, opposing factions that will fight to the bitter end until one of them finally can be declared the victor, something that may never happen.

We think of these rivalries, but how often do you look at the rivalries in your life that aren’t exactly black and white? Roberts Dairy vs. Anderson Erickson, Papa Johns vs. Dominos, Coke vs. Pepsi.

How about Facebook and Google? Does that even make any sense? One does e-mail and search while the other is a social network — how can those be rivals?

They become rivals when one of the two “crosses the line.” And that is exactly what is about to happen. For the last few months it’s been rumored that Google was going to launch a social network that could rival the likes of Facebook and even possibly take it down a peg or two in terms of being the best.

So how does Facebook feel about this? It responded in kind. Monday, Facebook is going to cross into Google’s turf — it’s going to revamp the Facebook messaging system and make it more like Gmail. In essence, the company is launching what will be the first of many products made to improve its value and be more like Google.

Over the last years, you can tell this has been happening. Google has Google Talk, Facebook launches “chat.” Facebook has photos, Google buys Picasa. Google has search, Facebook makes a deal with Microsoft for Bing search to work inside of Facebook. The list goes on.

It’s essentially a cold war taking place right in front of us. Two opposing factions building up an arms cache that could blow up the Internet four times over. Well, not quite, but it’s happening.

These two companies have gotten to the point that Google is losing its top engineers to Facebook on a daily basis to be part of the “next big thing,” not to mention the possibility of stock options for when Facebook goes public.

This battle isn’t quite like it used to be. Back in the old days it was Google vs. Yahoo or MySpace vs. Facebook. This next duel will be different. It won’t be an overnight ordeal like the MySpace to Facebook transition was. This could go on for quite some time I think.

At the moment, Google and Facebook kind of depend on each other. Google has Facebook on its Android phones, but those phones won’t sell as well without Facebook on them. For now, they depend on each other, but as time goes on and the two separate themselves from each other even further, we will have do decide.

We the people will vote with our numbers and one of the two will be on top, for awhile.