The bad blood between Facebook and Google may go deeper than anyone has really realized to date. The spat became public earlier this year when Facebook banned Google’s Friend Connect, theoretically over security issues (but really over competitive issues).
The source of the feud: Facebook chose Microsoft as their ad partner and investor a year ago; Google had already put their money behind MySpace. But beyond that, Google was also quick to compete with Facebook platform by launching Open Social with most of Facebook’s competitors, cementing the ill-will.
Now Facebook may be shooting itself in the foot to spite its face (or however the saying goes) by ignoring the new Android platform. From what we hear, Facebook has dedicated exactly zero resources to creating a version of the service for Android, and has no plans to launch anything at all. That’s despite the fact that the company has robust iPhone and RIM applications (the iPhone app was developed internally by Joe Hewitt, the RIM app was built by RIM with Facebook’s help). Meanwhile, MySpace has already released an Android version of their service.
So why no Andoid app? The official reason is that Facebook is looking to others to develop these applications. Joe Hewitt pushed the iPhone app internally, a spokesperson says, and RIM built the app themselves (but Facebook lent engineers). Google or third parties are free to use the Facebook API to build apps using Facebook services, the spokesperson said.
But the off record discussions I’m having with others at Facebook tell a different story. One source derisively called Android “vaporware” (it looks pretty real to me). Another source at Facebook says “Android sucks, it doesn’t matter.”
Sounds like they’ve reached their decision.
Update: See GigaOm’s post on this as well.