Google's Social Researcher Joining Facebook in 2011

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-12-22 Print this article Print

By now many of you who read this blog realize I care intensely about the rivalry between Google and Facebook.

So you can safely conclude why I believe this next spot of news portends a black hole of trouble for Google.

Paul Adams, Google's social research lead who has an excellent handle on the type of social graph relationships Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is famous for, is joining Facebook next year.

Adams, who worked on Google Buzz, rolled out a 216-page slide deck called the "The Real Life Social Network" last July. See it here:

The gist of his presentation is that while Facebook is great for sharing, its construct is that humans have one big social circle. Adams argued that people have multiple social circles and therefore need to have multiple privacy walls.

As I wrote in July: "Adams exposed a fundamental design flaw that shows Facebook has a narrow view of social interactions and Google wants to leverage this for its own social designs."

The presentation prompted people to speculate that he was involved in the alleged Google Me (now known as Google +1) Facebook-killer social network.

As my peers at InsideFacebook and AllThingsDigtial pointed out well enough, it was Adams' massive treatise on the disconnect in Facebook's social graph that accelerated the launch of Facebook Groups.

So, what happened. Has Adams had a change of heart or simply seen the light? I believe Adams in his research realized that Facebook is a strong platform and that he is uniquely positioned to help improve the social glue there.

Facebook realized this, too, and likely lured him with more cash and those fantabulous pre-IPO stock temptations Googlers are finding it so hard to resist.

Perhaps Adams also believes Google's overtures in social are misguided and failing.

Whatever the reason(s), it's a big loss. Adams knows full well what Google is doing. Imagine the NDA he had to sign.

What kind of disarray is Google's social efforts in? Google hired all of these brilliant social engineers and so far all we've seen is this silly share and loop functionality. |

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