Google Gearing Up to Enter Social Networking?
Yesterday Google announced their purchase of Slide; a company that develops technology and software for social networks such as MySpace. In the post on the Official Google Blog yesterday, Google’s engineering director, David Glazer, stated that the acquisition would help in “building a more social web”, a term Mark Zuckerberg, CEO/Founder of Facebook often uses. Further, Glazer went on to discuss Google’s existing “strong social elements” in their existing products and how Google intends to use the acquisition of Slide to make Google products “more socially aware.”
Slide is the sixth major acquisition that Google has made this year. More importantly, however, Slide is the latest in a series of actions and purchases on the part of Google that suggests that the company is looking to be more involved in the social networking field (see the Google Me rumor).
Having said this, in February of this year, Google Acquired Aardvark; an online service that allows people to ask and answer specific questions in which answers for are hard to come by. While this wasn’t a significant jump from Google’s historical information and data-mining related purchases, it was definitely unique in the sense that it encouraged interaction between Internet users.
Then in March of this year, Google announced their second acquisition; this time of online photo retouching service Picnik. While Picnik and its web-based photo retouching software were not a far cry from what Google had done with their 2006 acquisition of Picasa, the acquisition did hint at a change of venue for Google. What really stuck me about this purchase was what Brian Axe, the product management director at Google, said in the of his blog post. This being, the first few lines of this post stated that “more than ever before, people are sharing and storing their photos online.” In my mind, this meant that Google realized that they were lacking in the social networking field, and were letting opportunities pass them by. Think about it. If you were the product management director at Google, and you saw that photo sharing and social networking were starting to take off, wouldn’t you want to jump on board?
Even when acknowledging the failure of Google Wave the other day, Google hinted that they had something in the works, saying that they intended to “extend the technology [from Wave] for use in other Google projects.”
While Google claims they “don’t have any detailed product plans to share right now”, it is becoming evident that the company is gearing up to become a player in and bring innovation to social networking. And to be honest, I am genuinely eager to see what Google comes up with. More importantly, I am glad to see that Google is taking its time in developing and releasing whatever they have in store, as a well-polished product will have a much higher likelihood of being successful.
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