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Monday, March 21, 2011

Google to Launch Social Service ‘Circles’ – True or False?

Posted by @ 5:51 pm

Rumors have recently been flying around about a new social network that Google is developing called Google Circles.

However, as soon as the rumors started, Google was quick to squash them. Despite word quickly circling at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive event in Austin, Google confirmed that they will not be launching anything of this sort soon. Not only this but Google also confirmed that they are not developing any such product for the future but are in fact working on integrating more social layers in their existing products.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at what the rumors entailed. Apparently, Google Circles is:

  • A social product that integrates pictures, videos, and status updates with full privacy for its users.
  • It’s based on a user’s public and personal connection from other popular social networking site like Twitter and Google Buzz.
  • This would consist of their “Social Circle” but what users are actually more likely to see are more feeds from of their social connections anywhere in the search results.

The rumors were all started by Tim O’Reilly, well-known technology pundit who tweeted that he had “seen google circles, and it looks awesome.”

Google were quick to dismiss the rumors with the following statement:

We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve our products. As with all experiments at Google, we don’t have any additional information about if or when products will launch.

O’Reilly later retracted the statement and issued the following email:

It’s not a product, per se, and it’s not a new social network. Just some research-y thinking about how you could better manage social data. Exactly what Chris said. I got fooled by the RWW story into thinking that they’d turned it into something they were going to announce. There’s no story here. Just some labs stuff.

However, we’re not dismissing this news completely. The possible product was alluded to by CEO Eric Schmidt late last year at a Google Zeitgeist event in Arizona. Here is a transcript from the event:

Google hoped to at least get access to Facebook users’ contact lists so that people can grow their social network on Google. He said, without elaborating, that Google’s products would incorporate more social-networking elements later this year.

“The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data,” Mr. Schmidt said. “Failing that, there are other ways to get that information.” He declined to be specific .

In its new service, Google will attempt to allow users on the Google site to access information they created on many other sites including Twitter and Yahoo Inc.’s Flickr, the photo-sharing service, according to people familiar with the matter . Schmid also said that by asking users to give Google the same type of information they give to Facebook, Google also could improve each user’s Web-search experience.

So, I’m throwing the question out to our readers? Do you think we will see Google Circles sometime soon?

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

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