Page's urgency isn't altogether surprising. When he took over as CEO in April, he made it clear that upgrading Google's position in social networking would be a priority. He clearly sensed that Facebook had become a very dangerous rival on various fronts, not just social networking.
Facebook has become a leading online ad seller. It has become the world's preferred online meeting place and playground. It has struck partnerships with players big and small, including Microsoft, Amazon, eBay and Netflix. It holds troves of knowledge about its users, most of whom use their real names on the site.
"It's all about identity because whoever controls identity controls ads. Whoever can figure out who likes what, who responds to what, then can serve more targeted ads," Owyang said.
Clearly, Page feels Google has no time to waste in recovering lost ground. The Facebook threat is too real. Is he overdoing it? Is it too risky giving such an important role to a new product? The answers to those questions will become clearer next year. Stay tuned.
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