So Google spoke out against the rumors of Circles – their possible social platform – this weekend, using the Wall Street Journal as their distributor of denial. But recent actions suggest they are moving towards being more social in most of their products; and any smart business person knows it is better to have it under one control center as opposed to having numerous divisions dealing with many of the same issues.
And if you had not heard all Google Profiles will go public or be deleted July 31.
If Google has finally decided to go back and just concentrate on search, then okay social is an area they can leave alone, apart from adding elements of it in to the search results. But Larry and Sergey are too aware of the power of social and its growing impact as a tool for sharing and finding information.
Twitter just posted record numbers with over 4 billion tweets done last month and following the Japanese earthquake hit 177 million on one day and had over half a million signups on that day too. Google had a little over 10 billion searches in February, according to comScore.
One has to wonder how Google will react when there are more tweets than searches and when Twitter starts to directly impact those search numbers. Facebook’s usage has obviously gotten their attention.
While Profiles are going public, they are also being linked to the Google toolbar and have added a connection to Picasa to add photo sharing a la Facebook.
Looking at some of Google products, it is hard to think there is not a long play for social in the mix. Your Google Account has the elements with its social connections and social content.
When you look inside the PicasaWeb tab you see the request to add it to your profile (see below) and when you close the page you get an exit page asking again. Google has been pushing sign ups for the products a little harder.
Meanwhile Google Buzz sits there inside your Gmail loaded with tweets and looking a little like Facebook with its Comment and Like options.
Google Docs is all about sharing, you can make calls and chat from your Gmail account, and if you add in Google Alerts and their RSS Reader along with Books and YouTube there is the backbone of a truly powerful social connection.
And don’t forget the new “Offers” or Hotpot for sharing location reviews or their ability to generate product recommendations based on your friends choices.
If Google wants to go in to direct competition with Facebook they have the weapons to win. So perhaps their denials this weekend were more a reaction to having their war plans leaked before they were prepared to launch the attack.