Riya is just an awesome product, and you don’t have to be a beta tester to know that, now that rumours say Google is going after it. Om Malik, Michael Arrington, Nial Kennedy, Paul Kedrosky all have their take. Estimates (of these rumours) state that Google is in the process of or already has acquired Riya for somewhere around $40 million – impressive money for a startup that hasn’t gone public yet.
Usually, I’m an extreme non-beleiver in rumours. Seriously, I hate them, because some guy just makes up the most ridiculous thing and gets away with a few thousand new visitors/subscribers to his (or her) blog. But this rumour, I think, might have some strength. Let’s look at the facts. Yahoo! has Flickr, a successful piece of social technology. Sure, you might say Google has Picasa, but where is the socialness in this? People want to communicate through the Internet for something that is based on using the Internet, not a desktop app, for however great Picasa is (and I use it myself). The answer to this? Hello, Riya.
Riya isn’t Flickr, but if you ask anyone who has tried it, he may just say its one step beyond Flickr. Flick is you could say Photo Sharing 1.0. Riya may indeed go a bit further and become Photo Sharing 1.5 with their excellent piece of facial recognition and tagging utility. And in my opinion, Google wants this. And hey, why not, when they’ve just reached the big 400.
Man, I wish the Web 2.0 conference was tomorrow. Imagine asking Sergey that question face to face on his guest appearance. A Googler: please deny or confirm this!