July 4, 2012

The three Internet giants are fighting it out in an Olympic style competition which will see the gold medallist as the commander of human digital interaction in the future. Facebook, Google and Apple are competing against each other for the number one spot on the podium, and each has their own niche skills and tactics. Facebook’s unified Chat, Messages & Email goes head to head with Apple’s cross-device iMessage system and Google’s Gmail, GChat & Hangouts.

Last week Facebook initiated its first tactic when it changed users profile contact info to display their address and hide their previously selected default email addresses, in a bid to upset our previously established communications systems and replace it with its own. Tactless, maybe? But also a decent attempt to box out Google and Apple and become front of mind as the rise of data-based alternatives take the place of the SMS platform we are all too used to.

Facebook have realised that only a small percentage of their 800million+ users have willingly changed to their connected address which allows all messages to flow into one inbox. In April 2011, Facebook began assigning email addresses to everyone as the uptake had been so slow and last week they’ve had to make it the default email address of their users to further encourage uptake. There seems to be a pattern emerging here..

Meanwhile Google’s Gmail, arguably the Gold medallist of the email Olympics has continued to grow in popularity. In June 2011, Google+ was launched and now Google is merging its Hangouts, Talk and Messenger features into a single unified platform just like Facebook. Google however has strength in its backend. It owns Android, is building hardware with Samsung, and it also owns Motorola. However, the day Google started building Google+ rather than partnering with Facebook could be the demise of Google owning messaging, but Google Glass and self-driving cars are looking like the company’s future direction.

Apple launched iMessage in October 2011 as an SMS alternative for iOS devices, but it’s limited to those who can afford an iOS device. iMessage will link desktop and laptop computers however when Apple adds it to the latest OS X Mountain Lion update. Apple is the underdog in this competition. It has no social network and in fact relies on Facebook to bring social to iOS and the App Store. This partnership may see a fiercer fight as they tactically battle together against Google. The ability to iMessage Facebook friends you don’t have the phone number of could increase the Apple product’s worth, and give iOS users a way to message with their Android-toting friends.



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