After mass speculation that Google was launching a new social network called GoogleMe to compete with the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, an announcement by Eric Schmidt set the record straight. In typical Google fashion, he left a few key points shrouded in mystery, perfect for an announcement made at an event named Zeitgist.
Speculation is rampant over which Google property will play hub to the connective concept of GoogleMe. Internet pundits favor Google Buzz, acting an integrated hub with email, but I personally find Buzz awkward and hope that’s not what they choose. A few have speculated that the Google Profile will be the center of the Google social sphere.
I like the idea of an improved, more social Google Profile. With so many Google toys to play with, having one place to go to get connectivity with all of my contacts would be ideal. In fact, having a centralized location where my social network contacts from all of my networks would intersect would fulfill a wish I’ve had for years.
While it was made clear GoogleMe was being sprinkled throughout existing Google products as an added social layer, not a standalone product, it was also made clear that they are thirsty for social data. It seems they are reading my mind (and most likely the minds of others) and trying to get access to the social contacts data from other networks. Predictably, Facebook is putting up roadblocks. Facebook appropriates user data in any way it sees fit, but doesn’t want a rival internet company to do the same, even if its what its users want or need.
I’m wondering if Gmail (without having to use Buzz) and Google Contacts could become the central hub for all of our social network contacts, with Profile acting as a router for our Google based streams like YouTube favorites, Buzz and Reader, or even the coming Google Music. Others have tried, but none with the clout of Google. If nothing else, it will be fun to watch.