SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 30 — Google and some of the Web’s leading social networks are teaming up to take on the new kid on the block — Facebook.
On Thursday, an alliance of companies led by Google plans to begin introducing a common set of standards to allow software developers to write programs for Google’s social network, Orkut, as well as others, including LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning.
For now, however, Facebook has become the preferred platform for software developers. By teaming with others, Google hopes to create a rival platform that could have broad appeal to developers. A person briefed on the plans said the sites in the alliance had a combined 100 million users, more than double the size of Facebook.
For Google, the effort could breathe new life into Orkut, which is popular in Brazil and other countries, but not in the United States[snip].
Google has not been able to establish itself as a force in social networking, and it clearly wants to. “One of the things to say, very clearly, is that social networks as a phenomenon are very real,” Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said in a recent interview. “If you are of a certain age, you sort of dismiss this as college kids or teenagers. But it is very real.”