MySpace, Google team up to pull more users

MySpace is teaming up with internet search leader Google in a campaign to extend MySpace’s reach and counter the expansion of their common rival, Facebook.

The alliance, unveiled late on Monday in Paris, builds upon MySpace’s seven-month effort to make it easier for the 127-million worldwide users of its online hangout to connect with their social circles while they’re at other internet destinations.

MySpace is trying to pull it off by making its login system, called ”MySpaceID”, compatible with any website that wants to embrace it.

By working with a similar service offered by Google, MySpace is betting more sites will welcome its audience.

Blogs and other small sites with limited technical help probably will find it easier to use Google’s system, known as ”Friend Connect”, said Max Engel, who oversees MySpaceID.

The collaboration between MySpace and Google represents their latest shot across Facebook’s bow.

MySpace and Google previously joined forces a year ago to promote a service called ”OpenSocial”, which competes against Facebook’s warehouse of online software programs.

Facebook is also peddling its own universal login service to create more ways for its roughly 130-million worldwide users to share their personal profiles and favourite applications wherever and whenever they want on the web.

The privately held company expanded ”Facebook Connect” last week after seven months of testing.

By loosening their grip on the personal information stored on their own sites, both MySpace and Facebook are vying to shape and steer even more social interaction than they already do.

In the process, they hope to become the command centres of their users’ online activities.

By extending their networks on to other sites, Facebook and MySpace also could emerge as more alluring marketing vehicles, particularly as they glean more information about the interests of individual users.

Google is keenly interested in tapping into the advertising potential of social networks, but the company has had little success with its own online hangout, called Orkut.

MySpace already relies on Google to sell some of its ads, so the companies are natural allies.

Facebook, in contrast, has aligned itself with Microsoft, perhaps Google’s biggest antagonist.

Besides relying on Microsoft to sell some of its ads, Facebook also sold a 1,6% stake to the software maker for $240-million last year.

Facebook has also rankled Google by hiring some of its top employees.

The defectors include Facebook’s current CEO, Sheryl Sandberg, who oversaw global online sales. — Sapa-AP

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