The rivalry between Facebook and Google has been intense for those of us on the inside. Google sees Facebook as a major threat and has decided to make social networking a priority. The feud came into the public this week when Facebook made a pretty stupid mistake. They hired PR-firm Burson-Marsteller to start a smear campaign against Google.
Let's start the story at the end: two representatives from the firm wrote to a blogger and offered to help him write an op-ed article about how Google's new Social Circle product was invading people's privacy. He refused and, instead of blowing off the ridiculous request, posted the communications between himself and the firm on his website. This caught the attention of USA Today, who had also been contacted about writing about the "privacy issue". They then accused Burson of what they caled a "whisper campaign" against the search giant.
To find out the full tie to Facebook, hit the break.
USA Today did some research and found out that Facebook was the "mastermind" behind this genius scheme. When first confronted with the evidence, Facebook denied. Later, however, their representatives confirmed that, yes, they were behind the smear campaign. Of course, Google is now going to have to respond to the claims made by Facebook and their representatives, like this quote from Burson:
The American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloging and broadcasting every minute of every day—without their permission.
Insanity aside, Google has been known for privacy issues, such as their Street View cars collecting WiFi data and the disaster that was the Google Buzz launch. This one, however is based around Google republishing publicly available information. Isn't that all a search engine is - republished public data?
Facebook feels that Google's treatment of Facebook data is inappropriate, despite the fact that it is EXACTLY the same as Google's existing Google News service, except for social data instead of useful information.
So, whose side are you on in this battle? Let us know in the comments section.