Googles Native Social Network
"When you look carefully, Google is a social network," Owyang told eWEEK, noting that Google has three main components that make up a social network. These include profile information via Google accounts; the ability to let users connect with friends through Gmail; and the ability to do something interesting with those tools, which is what Buzz does atop Gmail and what Slide and Zynga, which could be the centerpiece for Google Games, could provide.Forrester Research analyst Augie Ray believes the Slide acquisition is about buying talent and experience rather than the Slide apps. Still, the limited information Google Engineering Director David Glazer provided in his blog post about the Slide buy left little doubt Google is taking social media more seriously than ever, Ray told eWEEK. "They take pains to mention Google's commitment to making social information more useful and relevant to people, and CEO Eric Schmidt said at a conference this week that more information is created in two days than in the period between the dawn of civilization and 2003," Ray said. "Google is hinting that their focus in social media will be to improve relevance and usability-two areas in which Google has excelled. I am not sure how Slide's resources fit into this view, but if Google can turn the social media 'fire hose' that so many complain about into something more helpful and manageable, many we'll forget Google's past social misfires such as Orkut, Wave and Dodgeball." Whatever Google does, it can't come soon enough. Facebook in July celebrated hitting the 500 million user mark, and its Like button is reportedly providing the connective tissue for some 300,000 Websites worldwide. Facebook just started testing a recommendation button on Amazon.com, the mother of all e-commerce plays on the Web. The clock is ticking for a Google social network.
"All of those components have been separated in the past, and they now have the chance to pull these things together," Owyang said.