By Adrian Hon, The Daily Telegraph
Larry Page, co-founder and newly appointed CEO of Google, has had enough of the failures. Last month, he declared open war on Facebook by tying every single employee's bonus to the success of Google's social strategy. It's hard to imagine a clearer way to motivate its engineers; and it's easy to see why Facebook has decided to step up its PR attacks.
But how is this relevant to people who aren't glued to their computers? Oddly enough, the answer lies in a new advertisement from Google. In it, a father emails his daughter with videos and photos of her birth, first words, ballet lessons and lost teeth. It's a lovely ad that would draw a tear from any parent watching, and of course it shows off a whole array of Google products that will help you do the same thing for your kids.
The message is that Google can help you connect with your family in a way that is far superior to old-fashioned paper letters (and that it is certainly much more relevant to young people). The meaning is that Google wants access to your emails, photos, videos and memories, because then it can advertise to you via those services and keep you on its websites. If this seems like a chilling vision of the future, it's worth reflecting that Facebook already does this right now.
The battle between Facebook and Google is about who has control of our lives online. And for those who have never lived in a world without the Internet, there's no distinction between online and offline.