Google Socializing

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Management, Ninth Edition

Google’s new social media platform, Google Plus, is the result of an ambitious and earnest effort by Google at social networking. Mr. Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, has previously admitted to not investing heavily enough in social networking as rival Facebook Inc. grew.

Speaking at investment bank Allen & Co.’s media conference last week, he said that the company is working hard to accommodate the millions of users waiting for invitations to Google Plus, which allows people to share links and media among people they have divided into “circles” based on their relationships. If trends continued, Mr. Schmidt said, the company would look to spread the circles concept across other Google products, including search and its video site YouTube. “There is a lot coming,” he said.

It’s obvious that the Google Plus team are not blindly copying Facebook or Twitter. They’ve set out to solve the problem that “friend” or “follower” doesn’t accurately represent our social relationships and doesn’t permit fine-grained sharing.

Late realization

Google?s senior executives ? long dismissive of the idea of importance of social to search ? were contrite during their briefing earlier last month. ?It is about time we have come to the realization,? said Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product with Google, ?If you don?t know people, then you can?t organize the information for people.?

Google?s realization ? however late ? that it needs to use social, location and other signals to enhance its core search platform is welcome. ?Google needs to understand these relationships and basically use those to make search better,? said?Vic Gundotra, Google?s senior vice president for Social.

Why??Because the internet (and information) are expanding with such rapidity that there is no room for assumptions, and as such our systems need to adapt to this world of no (or alternatively infinite) assumptions. Google needs to adapt, and getting social and location signals is important for the company. Search is now search relevant to you in the context of your world ? and that is where Google+ comes in.

Successful attempt

Maybe its safe to say for now that people could join Google Plus, just to see a change from Facebook, but if it really manages to hold them there for long, then Google has finally done a successful job at social networking, after several failed attempts in the past.

The first always wins. This holds true for everything; Google is the best search engine there is, Facebook is the best social networking site there is. Any foray into another field, through imitating or whatever, though good for expansion and diversification of portfolio, would have to try very hard to succeed.

Sources: WSJ, radar.oreilly

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