This goes out to all of you who think I'm an unabashed Google non-basher.
There's been a lot of talk in the last two weeks about the Google Me social network layer cake Google refuses to confirm but everyone knows is coming in 2011.
I've steered clear because most of it dealt with silly semantics such as what it's called. Google Me. Emerald Sea. Emerald City. Now it's Google + 1, a dumb nickname I hope will change 12 more times until launch.
Then TechCrunch caught this doozy: a screenshot of what is allegedly one of the new social features in the forthcoming Google social makeover:
Confused? Me, too at first. It's a toolbar. Apparently, you can click Share and the counter next to it will count shares like beans. Fun.
See it up close here:
The Loop is apparently a call sign for Groups, as in groups people can share content with.
Just as the failed Google Buzz was bolted onto Gmail, Google + 1 looks bolted onto Google News, and likely, Google.com search. If what we're seeing is an accurate depiction of what Google plans to do with social, it's a big FAIL.
I don't know about everyone else, but searching for information is generally a private experience between me and my computer or smartphone. I don't share news stories with people, or searches. Maybe it's the journalist in me. I don't know.
Occasionally, I'll look up something on Wikipedia with my wife, but I don't take results and blast them out to friends or family, one or many.
There is nothing native about the experience. Users come to Google News and Google.com to search for info, not socialize and share.
This won't prove any more popular than Google Social Search, where results are dumped at the bottom of the SERPs.
I used to think Google doesn't get social. Now I think they do, but they just want to insouciantly inject it into their existing popular properties. Then they can say they tried to fight Facebook. Lame, but they tried, right?
Sorry Google, but this is a low-rent substitute for The Social Network. Come strong or don't come at all. Buzz off.