A month or two back I landed up having to get a Facebook account so I could see some friends' pictures. Until then I'd shied away from it.Having signed up -- like a fifth of the total internet population -- and now linked up with 50 or so friends and colleagues, I now 'get it'. It can act as a glue for people who don't spend huge amounts of time together (and even those who do at work). Particularly with friends who can phrase things well, there's normally something to smile at each time I visit, as well as feeling I'm keeping up with (bits of) their real lives. Wired mag have an interesting piece on Facebook and Google, but not about the techy side of it. Instead it looks at how Facebook want to dominate the internet in a different but still competing way to Google, and the Big G is clearly somewhat nervous about it. The full article is available, but here's my quick summary.Google takes well over half of all internet advertising spend, through adds on their various services. Some of these can target individual interests quite well -- certainly better than broadcast TV. But Facebook now have something priceless to advertisers: people's real names, associated with their own descriptions of what they do, what they're interested in, and their photos. Like other search engines, Google can see very little of this, as it all goes through Facebook's servers. When Facebook work out how to bring advertising into their site without alienating too many of their users, Google will both be blind to this personal information, and poorer too.A battle is on: not just for the advertising revenue, but for the type of internet we see. Facebook's vision of a friendlier, personal, internet clearly is catching on ...

AuthorJonathan Clark