Big in the news this week was the announcement that Google are taking on Facebook with their own social network called "Google+". One of Google's major advantages (or +'s ... hence the name perhaps?) over Facebook is the promise of video chat.
With the news still resonating in our ears Facebook made their own big announcement that they are introducing Video Chat in partnership with now Microsoft-owned Skype. Google's initial excitement balloon had a great deal of air let out by this announcement.
So what does this actually mean to the consumer? Yet another social service we're encouraged to sign-up to or a real challenger to Facebook's dominance that could lead to increased competition and ultimately greater product enhancements?
With the resources now at Facebook's disposal, they are able to take on any challengers to their dominance by quickly integrating with other best-of-breed utilities. Take Foursquare, for example, the location-based check-in service quickly rose to prominence before partnering with Facebook to power their "Facebook Check-in". Foursquare as a separate service is effectively dead in the water but the service lives on with their Facebook integration.
What this all boils down to is the simple economic principle of competition. Competition pushes companies to constantly improve in fear of being left behind. It converts optional stances into essential ones.
So I say, bring on the competition! It can only improve the services already on offer and strive both Facebook and Google to continue to push the boundaries and redefine how we communicate with each other online. And this can only be good news for the consumer. I can't wait ...