Google has something really clever here. Look over a few recent, subtle moves. Google adds AIM functionality into GTALK, so you can use either Google Talk or your AIM ID. Google adds Friends to Reader, meaning that anyone with a Google account can share information back and forth with Google Reader. Google slips profiles into the “Friends” action, but it’s clear that this will go cross-account. So here’s how this plays back quickly:
- GTalk+AIM = rapid communications (IM).
- Gmail = email platform. Simple, easy, searchable, plays with POP3,in corp configuration, etc.
- Google Reader= news in, meaning the “ears” and learning of your knowledge organization.
That’s the easy game. But wait. What’s a social network for? If you answer anything other than “a place to capture and corral attention so that companies can advertise against it,” you’re being a little altruistic. So, if you look at this, you’ve got the following things tying together in a potential larger social network. Google has the following potential captures of your time:
- Instant messenger
- Pictures (don’t forget Picasa’s still alive and well).
- Pages (not just PAGES, but the new Knol that fights Wikipedia)
You know I could go on and on and on, right?
So, with Google having the potential to keep you longer and longer on their court, you’ve got some really prime real estate for advertising, which is how Google’s owned the Internet for the last several years.
When Facebook started to make a difference over 2007, and people started hiding inside the very closed walls, Google came up with this, a way to do a lot of the same social features without making us dig up our Orkut account IDs.
In fact, think about it, your social network is your contact list. No invitations necessary. That’s the coup de grace. You’re already bought in, at least insofar as Google can help you convert your friends to your new social network: your inbox.
Shoot holes in this. Add your own ideas. Where do you think this goes?