Weekend mumblings of social networks came from both Yahoo and Google. In the case of Yahoo, it intends to develop Mosh. For Google, it has made progress with Socialstream. What are these new social and portal connections?
Mosh: Call this one the Social at the Portal. Techcrunch shows a Yahoo job posting about the service. Commenter “Anonymouse” says Yahoo plans for a late Fall launch. He/she also believes “it may be Yahoo's first time doing any real Integration across products as well!”
Socialstream: Call this one the Social Portal, period. Google's supporting a Carnegie Mellon development called the Unified Social Network (USN). This would become a “one stop” shop for social networks, if the social networks are open to it. See the features here.
Why now, in the summer dulrums?
First, the continued growth by MySpace and now Facebook must be a wake-up call. According to ComScore, MySpace attracted 69 million uniques and Facebook garnered 29 million uniques during May. MySpace encourages large networks of friends, music and more. It enables you to experiment with identities, too. Facebook is about friends you know. COO Owen Van Natta says they are primarily a technology company (see AdAge, paid access).
Second, social networking and communications are being adopted elsewhere. User-generated content commonly appears on traditional media's own websites. There are sites built solely to share interests too, from mothers to dog owners. At this stage, blogging, photo sharing and video viewing have become fairly mainstream activities.
Third, things may be getting unwieldy. With so many social networks, perhaps we do want to unify our friends. Or at least start searching in a more sophisticated way among our friends and their interests too. While not explicitly addressed in weekend mumblings, we would like to see how the search mechanisms will be tied into these social and portal connections.