Google could use Google accounts, Gmail, Google Buzz and several other Google Apps as the basis for its social network. Throw Slide and Zynga in the mix, and Google has something to keep users engaged.
of social application maker Slide and $100 million investment
in online gaming provider Zynga provide a
window into the company's social network strategy.
The search engine clearly feels, as Facebook and MySpace did before it, that
people want to use social widgets and play games to enhance their social
Some believe that experience can be tied together by using Google's inherent
social graph, which is rooted in Google Accounts and includes Gmail and Google
Google, which has not confirmed the so-called Google Me social network
it is allegedly building, wants
to put content in front of people that will keep them engaged and sharing
information. It makes sense that the largest trafficker in online ads wants to
create effective social advertising campaigns.
The problem with Google is that while it has several tools with hints of
social, they are walled off from one another.
Google Buzz is a social conversation service leveraging the massive social
graph culled from Gmail. Despite an ugly privacy snafu, Buzz culled tens of
millions of users, underscoring the thirst for Google social services.
There are only about 200 million Gmail users who can access Buzz if they
choose. That's great by most measures, but pales in comparison to Facebook's
massive user base of over half a billion people sharing info.
Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang believes Google's killer social
network is its number of Google
users, which includes the millions of users of Google services such
as Google Apps, Google Voice, Google Reader, iGoogle, Google Latitude and
myriad other apps.
Google told eWEEK it counts "hundreds of millions" of Google
account subscribers, but declined to be more specific. Google accounts are
where the real user base lies, according to Owyang.
In buying Slide, Owyang believes Google will use apps such as Top Friends
and Super Poke as a pathway to data about Facebook users for its own social
Such a social network would include Buzz, Google Docs and the rest of Google
Apps, weaving a rich tapestry of Web services, with Google accounts as the main