As we get closer to – and hear more about – the launch of Google’s upcoming social product, Google Me, the less and less it seems like a stand-alone social network and more like an interweaving of social connections into its existing offerings. It sounds eerily similar to those “social” search results that have lingered at the bottom of the results page and third-party extras like Rapportive, the Gmail add-on that gives you the social networking lowdown on your email contacts.
Nonetheless, some are saying that Google CEO Eric Schmidt acknowledged the upcoming launch of “Google Me”. Really, it looks like he acknowledged the coming of “layers”, not the stand-alone, Facebook-killing social network we’ve all discussed.
Google has essentially broadcast – and stayed true – to this party line all along. When it bought Slide in early August, word was that the acquisition would be a “tremendous opportunity for the two companies to come together to change the way people socialize on the Web”, according to a statement on the Slide website. Google itself said that “we’ve already built strong social elements into products like Gmail, Docs, Blogger, Picasa and YouTube” and that the joining of the Slide team would mean Google would be “investing even more to make Google services socially aware and expand these capabilities for our users across the web”.
As much as we want to see these words as the big battle between Facebook and Google, Schmidt said in plain language that this is not the case, according to Reuters.
“Everybody has convinced themselves that there’s some huge project about to get announced next week. And I can assure you that’s not the case,” he said today at Zeitgeist, a tech event in Arizona.
In essence, “Google Me” will be an integration of social connections in much the same manner as we’ve seen with offerings like Facebook’s “Instant Personalization”, which allowed select partners like Yelp and Pandora to use social network connections and information to cater results.
“If you think about it, it’s obvious,” Schmidt told Reuters. “With your permission, knowing more about who your friends are, we can provide more tailored recommendations. Search quality can get better.”
While we all love a good fight, this is becoming a bit more media-tastic than reality permits.
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