Google Circles Is Latest Social Unicorn
A frustrating news teaser bubbled out of the blogosphere today, starting with ReadWriteWeb's report that Google would announce Google Circles, a super social product, at South By Southwest Interactive today.
That's straight from the mouth of Chris Messina (he "didn't know what [the story] was talking about"), a Google developer advocate whom ReadWriteWeb claimed was directly involved with the product.
According to ReadWriteWeb's analysis of the unicorn-like product, Circles is not unlike Google Buzz in that it leverages photo, video and status message sharing, but in a way that is more respectful of user privacy than Facebook, the social network it is designed to challenge.
In short, it will create boundaries between users and their friends, family and colleagues, perhaps in a way that Facebook Groups does not.
I don't have any sources to tell me what this social integration layer cake is, but I was surprised so many reporters believed that such a monumental announcement would take place on a Sunday at SXSW.
Really? I realize most of who's who in Internet geek journalism is there, but not everyone. I'd be shocked if Google did something like this.
Google Circles, Google+1, Google Me is supposed to be so rich and game-changing that I can't conceive of how or why the search engine would pick an arty tech event to announce it.
That brings me to the point: I believe Google will make its social effort the news centerpiece for Google I/O, which sold out in like 59 minutes or something ridiculous.
They'll probably spend one and a half hours talking about it because this will be complex, certainly more so than Google Wave (I/O 2009) or Google TV (I/O 2010), the company's surprise big news items the last two years.
What remains to be seen is how the Google social effort will take shape and whether the company has inked partners for support. Obviously, Zynga, Twitter and others come to mind. How funny would it be if it integrated with Facebook from the jump?
One can dream of such unicorns. Anyway, I'll be attending Google I/O in May to see what surprises lurk in the search engine's heart.