Are incredibly popular web destinations like MySpace and Facebook a fashionable trend, all-out fad, or a web power to be reckoned with?
It's pretty clear what Google thinks. So far it is staying out of the business for now -- even though it was passed last week by MySpace as the most popular web destination in the U.S. MySpace garnered 4.5% of all web visitors from the U.S. last week. But Google, never one to chase a possible fad, is staying away for now from all social networking, except for the Orkut service it runs which is very popular in Brazil, but nowhere else.
Does the very nature of a social network mean that people's propensity for a little self-destruction (flaming, fighting, threats, etc.) -- especially in the teen set where attitudes are fueled -- mean that social networks really are fads? Yes and no, most likely. There is genuine advantage in having a place where people of like minds can connect and share things just like being in person.
eBay is a commerce-related example of this. But, when it comes right down to it, is Google making the smart, headstrong choice to stay farther away from the phenomenon of social networking? What do you think? And, if you're a GOOG shareholder, do you think this is a good choice from Google?