Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Ideal Google Social Network

Okay, so Google made an announcement about Loop and a few other features that they intend to use as their tools in the Social Network game.  However, are you feeling like me where it feels rather loose and unfulfilling?  Are you feeling that Google isn’t putting forth a true effort in devising the GREATEST possible social networking site possible?  That is how I am feeling.  I feel let down by Google’s feeble attempt.

If I were given the chance to propose to Google a proper social network using their existing services, I would probably have a truly magnificent thing going.  Here are a few services I would immediately go with, and how I would also utilize each in the grander scheme of the “Google Network”.

Profiles

First off, Google has to systems for this.  One is Orkut, the social networking platform Google purchased years ago and hasn’t done anything with.  The other one is Google’s default “Profiles” system which seems to be better tied to all of your Google services.  However, we only need one.  I recommend taking Orkut, phase it out and take all of its features and integrate them into Google Profiles.  Those of use with an Orkut and Google Profile, integrate them.  Make them one and the same.

Communication

With Google, we have Google Talk, Gmail, Wave, and Buzz.  You can’t really integrate all of these into a single service, but you can make them work hand in hand.  Gmail already has Talk and Buzz embedded into it, but Wave is something that no one is sure what to do with.  Taking Wave and tying it into Talk for group discussions would also be interesting.  It could function as a method similar to the old White Board in Windows Messenger applications giving group conversations a more interactive function.

Groups

Google has Groups and Wave.  These tools make for a great way of sharing information with multiple people.  Integrating Google Wave could add some life and functionality to the old system.  Rather than dealing with emails you would communicate with members live on the site, or via an app on your smartphone, or within the browser just as Wave was designed to do.

Social Organizing

This is easy.  Google Calendar is the perfect answer here.  Nothing special to say here beyond this being a great tool that already allows you to share your calendar with friends and family.

Geo-Location Services

Google is already on the right path with this in the form of Google Maps.  Check out the mobile apps on your smartphone.  You have Latitude, which is also tied into Buzz for location based status updates, Places which is a great method of sharing your opinion on the places you visit.

Personally, the one tool that Google should really push to make this social network more of a social experience is the Android platform.  Analysts are already insisting that we are on the verge of a more mobile society.  A society connected via their cell phones.  We are already seeing more and more people relying on their laptops, tablet devices and smartphones keeping them socially connected.  Google would put themselves at the forefront of this shift with their own mobile OS.

Whether this all will actually happen is yet to be seen.  Many of Google’s services are loosely tied together that most typical users are not aware of what is available.  Savvy users may know, but will opt for simpler setups like Facebook.  Google needs to reshape their appearance or loose out to Facebook, and possibly Apple.

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