Originally posted September 15, 2008.
Over the past 5 years or so, Facebook, MySpace and every other social network have been getting a lot of press about how their site(s) brings millions of people and information together. We’ve come a long way and many of these sites have opened up the internet in ways we could have never imagined. Friends you never thought you’d see again are suddenly a click away, the latest band from across the ocean playing in your living room. If you’re impressed at what’s available now, baby you ain’t seen nothing yet.
I strongly believe that behind the scenes, Google is putting together the pieces on not just another social network, but an amazing social platform built on a legion of social tools backed by a solid foundation of search. Think about the mass of instruments that Google has built or acquired in their short existence. I’ll help you out; start with GMail, Youtube, Open Social, Blogger, Android, Lively, Friend Connect, Google Reader, Google Documents, GTalk, Jaiku, JotSpot (Now Google Sites), Feedburner, Picasa, Chrome, Panoramio, Google Maps/Earth, Phatbits (Google Desktop Gadgets) and DoubleClick. Essentially what Google has here is a platform that gives them the front door to the web. They will be able to control (and index) multiple forms of content being created, give users multiple ways to connect with friends and then advertise to those users in the most appropriate way.
Google understands that it’s not the particular site that drives users, but rather the connections, the relationships, the content and the tools that work in harmony with each other that makes a network more plentiful. They understand that you must build tools that work in succinct with the internet (and internet ready devices) as a whole. They understand the mistakes made before them.
I will admit that their biggest challenge will be working with these different standards – getting each service to ’speak’ a common language, but with the collective talent they have at their disposal, its only a matter of time. Their strategy is slow and deliberate, but one day, when you’re not looking or paying attention, they will drop the guillotine on your idea of what a social platform should look and feel like. They will change the game as they’ve done so many times before. Mark my word on it.