After much rumour and speculation about what Google might do as far as social-networking goes, TechCrunch has the details on its first real foray into the social sphere, and it sounds like the search giant is trying to do exactly what many were thinking — and perhaps hoping — it would do: namely, offer a set of APIs and other tools that could allow users to make sense of the various profiles and information that have embedded in different networks (the NYT has the deets as well).
This is something that social networking has been needing for some time, and Google is just the one to do it. For one thing, the company is large enough and carries enough weight that people want to play along — although I noticed that the list of partners TechCrunch has (the full announcement is scheduled for Thursday) doesn’t include a certain company whose name starts with Face and rhymes with “schnook,” although that probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. MySpace isn’t there either.
This goes even further than the earlier reports from Erick Schonfeld and others, who talked about Google using a single API to build connections between its own apps and create “activity streams” not unlike Facebook news feeds (I wrote about those rumours here. I for one hope that Google succeeds in getting all of the various networks — including Facebook — to sign on, but I expect that Facebook will see this attempt as a threat (and rightly so) to its more walled-garden approach to its data.
— Nick Carr thinks Google Social could possibly play a role in Enterprise 2.0.
— Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 talks about Facebook’s vulnerabilities.
— Mike Masnick at Techdirt says Google and Facebook are flipping each other’s business models around.
— Marc Andreessen thinks Google Social is the next big Internet platform, and he has screenshots of the new feature/service as well.
Mike Arrington says he has confirmed that MySpace and SixApart are both joining the Google Social platform, confirming a rumour that Peter Kafka at Silicon Alley Insider first reported earlier today. At this point it looks like it could be Facebook vs. the Googleplex.