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Google to Launch Major New Social Network Called Circles, Possibly Today (readwriteweb.com)
214 points by Anon84 on Mar 13, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 120 comments

Fail, fail, fail until you succeed; I really like Google's resolve when it comes to breaking into social networking. I guess I also like any serious challenge to Facebook.

Can't wait for the details.

Its so true, i really would quit facebook today if there were an alternative...

You switch and some other day you hear google abandon it.

Edit: too soon, http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2320224

Don't know if Google really gets social. You really need an addictive core product that people are dying to spend hours and hours on. Can Google really make a social networking product that goes viral with teens and college students (and then others)? I wouldn't bet on Google developing a social hit internally. I think their best bet might be acquisition of something that's already taking off, like FourSquare of Instagram. They can then iterate from there and try to take on Facebook from another angle. Maybe I'm just still disappointed from Google Buzz.

Interesting that you say that because Google did buy Dodgeball, but then didn't support it. Dodgeball founder Dennis Crowley left Google with a lot of bad feelings and went on to start Foursquare. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpstyles/460987802/

It's amazing that they can't succeed despite their foothold. Everyone in my age group whom I know uses Gmail and uses chat on the Google Talk network. Almost no one uses Google Reader or Google Buzz.

No one uses Google Reader? Is that in general, or among people who understand and use RSS?

Among my friends who work at Google and are avid consumers of RSS feeds, all hate Google Reader. In fact, I heard murmurs about how incompetent the Reader team is/was and how it's not up to snuff compared to other products.

I use it, but I hate it. I'm just too lazy to find something better and port my feeds over.

Really? I've been using RSS feeds for years over multiple apps/platforms and Google Reader has been, by far, the best.

Google reader gives me exactly what I want in an rss reader. I can't imagine switching... Like all things, you can't please everyone.

Out of curiosity, what's wrong with Google Reader?

My big problem with Google Reader is that I still can't use my Google Apps account with it on my Android device. WTF? This is a Google product on a Google phone accessing a Google service using a Google-based account and Google still can't make it happen?

Huh? My friends at Google tend to love reader and think of the Reader team as one of the better ones at Google.

I don't personally use it, but my impression is that it's generally a much beloved product internally.

Why is it necessary that the product demand "hours and hours"? I don't have a Facebook account because I simply see no need to be bombarded with invitations, connections, "friends", etc.

I specifically WANT something people just use to stay connected in a way they find palatable. Almost by definition anything that people obsess over will never have me as a member.

I can't be the only one.

I have a Facebook account but I barely check it, I just can't get addicted to it. I find the experience annoying, the site is a total mess, looking for your friends list takes major efforts for example. Why does it ask me to login to a bunch of site to import friends instead of showing me my list of friends?

The messaging system is terrible. Why can't they work at turning that into a more gmail type of experience. My feed is filled with crap I don't care about, I can't create groups of friends like "programmers" to whom I can share cool programming related links...

The list goes on but the site just doesn't work for me. After a couple minute I'm so annoyed I don't want to log back in. I'm not the only one, everyone I speak to seems to have the same issues as me but they still find use in the site and revisit it daily.

I find the experience annoying, the site is a total mess, looking for your friends list takes major efforts for example.

Yeah. It's ridiculous that there isn't an obvious link for your friends list when you log in. My daughter enlightened me to the unintuitive sequence of clicking Profile and then Friends.

they earn money on impressions, don't they?

Except one thing: how many times are people willing to spend time setting up their social networks on yet another Google service that may or may not be useful?


We're not launching any products at #SXSW but we're doing plenty else. Join us for #H4ckers & 80s dancing today http://goo.gl/yV4fP

I think a social network that has the ability for friend groups / circles is way over due. Will be interested to see this!

Yes, the name "Circles" is awesome. It's agressive and appealing when seen from the perspective of "what do you offer that's better than Facebook", but also generically pleasant if you just encountered it as a product.

Yes, the name "Circles" is awesome.

Yup. Circles was also the name of social groups in Microsoft's threedegrees software.

WRT to the sibling post I'd be inclined to think that circles being such a common synonym/abbreviation for "social circles" that it lacks sufficient distinctiveness to indicate the origin of a product related to social networking.

If they wanted an RTM then they should have gone for a misspelling.

Is that in a similar enough field for trademark infringement?

As far as just the name, Etsy just released a 'follow me' type feature called 'Circles' a couple of months ago. http://www.etsy.com/storque/etsy-news/shop-together-circles-...

It's actually kind of confusing. Saying you 'circled' someone sounds odd, since it's not quite accurate. 'in your circle' vs 'in my circle' is kind of clunky compared to 'following me' or 'I follow'.

They don't offer anything related to groups of friends, though. It's a generic implementation of the usual 'following' set up.

I'm positive it'll just be a matter of time before "Sphere" rolls out.

No, because people can't think in 3 dimensional Ven Diagrams.

Perhaps MonkeySphere, which begins ejecting least-touched contacts once you hit 100.


Pretty critical thing here is to make maintaining those separate circles trouble-free. Google might have the necessary machine-learning capability to automatically put people into the right circles. If you have to start from scratch and do it all manually this won't work

You have the user start doing it by themselves and then you use this data to train the learning algorithm.

Similar to when you first enable Priority Inbox. It asks you to mark a dozen or so of your emails as important or not important, then it guesses the rest of them based on that initial input. Then, if you don't agree, you can make some more corrections, and iterate until everything's generally satisfactory.

Obviously false positives and negatives have far greater potential consequences here than with priority inbox, but the same general ideas can be applied. Also the social graphs of the the people on your friends list is a very rich source of data for the learning algorithms. Once you've placed two or three people from work into the 'collegues' circle the connections between those two or three examples and the other people you know from work will make it pretty simple to guess the rest of the work circle.

EDIT: and assuming that circle will start off by importing your google mail contacts, it already has a fair amount of implicit data about your social graph when it comes to those people due to your email activity with them, and their email activity between each other.

Thinking about it, the priority inbox stuff could well prove to be a very rich soruce of data for them generally in this circle endeavour.

One thing that could seed Google implementation of distinct friend circles is Gmail folder (label) inspection of who is on the same email lists. One of my largest and most active groups of friends is a group initially formed around common membership in an email list, an internal email list of a membership organization.

This I could get into. I've never had a FB account, but if I can really maintain walls between spheres of contacts, I will be giving circles a try.

Gmail integration wouldn't hurt either.

From what I understand, The Fridge (YC S10) has been providing this ability for a while: http://www.frid.ge/

One problem i could see though is that limiting your sharing to only certain social circles might be too limited for some people. The other day my roommate was upset that I couldn't see some of the pictures he'd been tagged in on FB because I wasn't already friends with the owner of the picture. People like being able to show off their pictures to others and sometimes it seems people want everyone to see a picture, whether theyre friends or not. If sharing rules are too strict they might run themselves out of business. On the other hand, i suppose Facebook is a virtual generator for privacy issues...maybe Google is on to something. I think its far too early to call it either way.

There should certianly be a "you were tagged in these photos, do you want to add them to one of -your- albums" feature. In my experience, my entire album is built from photos someone else has taken. I'd never considered what their privacy settings are doing to my friends viewing....

It's a feature that can be worked into Facebook in ways that will be far superior to starting a whole new social network. Google is fighting a losing battle here because they seem convinced that people want a clone of Facebook with a few extra features. And it's just not true.

Facebook does have this capability - just click the padlock next to your status. Just no-one seems to use it.

I use granular settings for messages I post to Facebook. I also use the new "private groups" on Facebook a lot.

(I just tried to show a link to the "private groups" feature on Facebook, and that proved to be very frustrating. It took me a while of thrashing around with Facebook's help feature--after first trying Google, ahem--to find the main page about Facebook groups


to show those of you who haven't tried them before. The private groups posting interface differs in some weird ways from the usual posting interface on wall posts and private messages, as typing "Enter" instantly posts the message, and the only way to form paragraphs in text is to type Shift-Enter, which is especially confusing for Mac users.)

It will be interesting to make the comparison between a new Google offering and Facebook. Any product or service that offers social interaction has to help each user build a network among the user's friends. Buzz was a big fail that way, as most of my friends immediately decided not to use it, but perhaps something new from Google will be more successful. My friends are all smart enough to know how to bail out of the second-best network if something better than Facebook comes along.

A "dot.com" company called eCircles[1,2] took exactly this approach between 1998-2001. They were later sold to Classmates[3].

1- http://www.pcworld.com/article/9704/join_hands_in_ecircles.h...

2- http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-55246946.html

3- http://books.google.com/books?id=OCRdSXSKZ-AC&pg=PA131&#...

Although my first instinctive reaction was negative, I really do hope Google gets this right. Frankly, a lot of people are pissed with FB's privacy issues, and if Google can take a new and refreshing approach to this (complicated) problem, it would be interesting to see how things pan out.

Facebook can already do this and it's called 'Lists'. (Account/Edit Friends/Create a List). You just put your friends in 'Lists', and then each time you want to post something but show or hide it from certain Lists you can click on the padlock icon and choose 'custom - edit' and type in the name of the List before posting. This applies to both wall posts and photo albums.

Problem is I guess the average Facebook user doesn't even know about the capability. Google may come up with an easier to use UI for this, but Facebook can just improve their UI and give more weight to this feature in it.

Unless Google has a completely new model that Facebook finds incompatible to their model then this is just a 'feature'.

I've been looking for a big improvement to Lists for a while now. The way it works now makes it almost useless. I want to be able to easily post a message or comment without hundreds of people seeing it. I want to post a message in context and only the people who would be interested in it would see it.

If you click on the lock icon on Facebook to set privacy, you can type in names of lists to explicitly hide or specifically limit content (blacklist or whitelist). This would allow posting some piece of content controlled via a named list of people you've created.

Sounds promising with the ability to separate family with friends. And Google Circles is better name than Google Me! Let's hope its viable alternative to FB.

Great, I can't wait to spend a bunch of time getting situated with yet another new service that Google will probably kill off in a year when it fails to overcome some arbitrary metric for success.

Social is to Google what search is to Microsoft.

This comment is to parent what Social is to Microsoft ;)

Seriously talking, it seems like you are underestimating the value of search to Microsoft.

Not value - understanding.

Microsoft gets Office for example. It's never been entirely comfortable with the Internet, of which search is a part - it's how the company as an entity thinks. Search is baked into everything Google does, it's in their corporate DNA. But they think about social the way MS thinks about search.


When you have google execs making fun of social on the record from few years ago, it sounds a lot like Gates saying "The Internet? We are not interested in it".

No ones talking about value because value isn't static. At the end of the day, the good big cos realize they f'd up and what they were once making fun of does indeed have tremendous value.

Appleseed has used friend "Circles" to organize friends since around 2006. Good to see this idea catch on. ;)

Here's to hoping Google's social network has some solid federation features baked into it.

Okay, I'll bite.

Tell me why I should use appleseed instead of using facebook.

Same reason you might want to host your own web server instead of using Geocities.

And if you don't host your own, the competitive eco-system that's created by federation means you can move your profile between nodes, without losing access to your social network.

I do not understand any of what you just said.

I would want to host my own webserver instead of using Geocities because hosting my own webserver means that I can write my website in whatever language I want, and that there is no limitation on what I can use it for (like DB restrictions, or domain restrictions).

What is "the competitive ecosystem that's created by federation"? What reason would I ever have for moving my profile between "nodes"? What is a "node"?

I'm not trying to be harsh, sorry if it sounds like I am. I believe I signed up for appleseed a while ago when you linked it here, but I couldn't figure out what was special about it.

I would want to host my own webserver instead of using Geocities because hosting my own webserver means that I can write my website in whatever language I want, and that there is no limitation on what I can use it for

And with Appleseed, you can run your own social networking site, theme it how you want, add third party features, build extensions, etc.

"the competitive ecosystem that's created by federation"?

Think of it like email. If you decide you don't want to be on gmail anymore, you move to hotmail or yahoo, or you set up your own server, and since SMTP is federated, you can still email all of your contacts, you're not walled off.

The same principle applies to Appleseed and distributed social networking.

(A "node" is just a social networking website that is compatible.)

I've been hearing about Appleseed for at least 5+ years and it's still in obscurity. The problem is that it's just too complicated for the average, non-technically savvy user. Without being able to get the general public to use it, it won't go anywhere.

It's pretty simple to sign up for and use, actually. No more difficult than Facebook. You create an account, upload photos, read newsfeeds, etc. Unless you're talking about setting up your own server, in which case it requires experience with running a LAMP server, and about 5 min to install.

The problem is that it's a volunteer open source project, not that it's difficult to use. Thus, it takes a lot longer time to maturation than it does when you have funding and full time employees.

However, despite being in beta, that we've built up around 200 Appleseed nodes (50 running the latest code), and the main beta test server has around 600 testers, it's not doing too shabby.

It may seem easy to you, but it needs to be brain-dead easy for the average user or they won't even waste their time on it. Is there one site people can go to like Facebook and signup? There also needs to be a compelling reason to switch.

it needs to be brain-dead easy for the average user or they won't even waste their time on it.

A good chunk of the test users are average users, they're friends and family that I've roped into testing for me. I've been using their feedback to improve the software.

I'm doing a lot of work on the UI/UX in order to "train" users for the conventions of distributed social networking. Obvious things like tutorials and FAQ's, videos and such, but also I'm working on a redesign to replace link text like "Remote Login" with "I have an account on an other site", so there are constant improvements being made in that area.

Is there one site people can go to like Facebook and signup?

For now, no, it's still being developed. There will be many sites, some catering to niche audiences, others more general. I've registered a number of domains for that purpose, and I expect others to use the software to do the same. A social networking site for cosplayers, black professionals, or green party activists, or even workplaces or schools which manage their own employee or student social networks.

"For now, no, it's still being developed. There will be many sites, some catering to niche audiences"

This is the same problem I've seen with other open source projects (and even Linux). There are just too many choices and people don't know what site to use, so they just use something else.

Appleseed could work if it became a platform, like email, where ISPS give you a page (and anybody could host their own), and they are somehow all connected together, but that would probably take many years.

Appleseed is a platform. It's a combination of a social framework you can build upon and a protocol that can be implemented in other projects.

The goal is for most people to use Appleseed without ever knowing what Appleseed is, much in the way people use the web without realizing that their web server is Linux + Apache.

> We speak to our "friends" all at once, no matter what we might want to say to one group of people or another. And thus we often feel less comfortable than we might saying anything at all.

I don't understand. We can do that on Facebook already. In fact, I already do that... I have friend lists, and different people see different statuses depending on context.

I don't see the problem Google is trying to solve. I'd be happy to be enlightened though.

I also use Facebook friend lists, and I often post things to my status that are restricted to close friends only. I also restrict Facebook chat using friend groups. The problem is that these friends have no way of knowing that they are the only ones in on the conversation so they feel constrained. Also, most people I know don't bother to segment their friends.

I also group people on Twitter into lists, in the hope that the lists will become useful someday.

Google does not seem to own circles.com. I wonder if they are planning on using google.com/circles or maybe another alternative domain.

I usually don't like how every google product is just a subdomain or a folder of the google.com domain. Products with runaway success need to have their own domain. Can you imagine if Facebook was at microsoft.com/facebook? Or Twitter was at google.com/twitter? That would seriously slow down adoption.

Have you considered the cookie implications of every Google product living on a separate domain? We'd have to login so many times.

Gmail.com redirects to mail.google.com, but they own the domain, and I ALWAYS type that in instead of typing mail.google.com.

Picasaweb.com is the same way.

I get your point, and it's not a bad one, generally speaking, but my gmail and picasaweb logins are automatic after I've logged in to any other google service -- I just cleared my entire browser history / passwords / cache etc., to make sure.

Bingo. It's not a bad domain, and I think they'll want to be sure users are logged into other google services when they're using it.

gmail.com googlemaps.com

Those may exist, but check the URLs in Google’s global navigation.



It seems like their idea of social network is modelled after Path.com's model of only having very close friends' special circle. Path turned down Google's offer to buy them few months ago.

About time, though I wonder how useful this will be since there are fundamental network effects standing in way.

I actually hope this will inspire facebook to get it's act together.

I probably won't use social networking sites unless they are useful even as a standalone page. I like google profiles and would enjoy extensions including reader integration, delicious-like page, and a good CMS site, etc. Allowing a public view version and private/friends version would push me to join the social network club.

Essentially, I would want it useful to me first and the social aspect as an addition. This can allow for slow take-off that would bypass some barriers to entry.

It really is amazing that publishing to Facebook friend lists isn't more intuitive and easy. I do it but it takes like 4 clicks and some typing to choose a list. All they need to do is make that easier, creation of lists easier and all these kinds of narrow social efforts will be for naught. It must be that Zuck hates friend lists or they would be better by now.

Any competition to facebook is extremely welcome..

I like the idea of having different circles or trust: different circles for family, for different groups of friends, different customers.

That said, trust issues: I still miss Wave (yeah, it is still running but for how long; also the Apache Wave in a Box project seems to be moving slowly). Just for PR value, I think that Wave should be supported in maintenance only mode.

Google faces two major obstacles in its social networking ambitions: an implementation problem, and a brand problem. On the implementation side, their previous offerings have not been compelling. On the brand side, people generally aren't eager to see Google's reach over their personal lives extended. That is, even if the implementation were compelling, the prospect of Big Google getting bigger, at least in the arena of gathering personal information, appeals to no one outside of Google. This parallels the growth of Microsoft's negative brand equity a decade and a half earlier. No one wanted to see a bigger Microsoft. The privacy guarantees alluded to in the original article make it clear that Google is intent on addressing both issues, yet I remain skeptical. Culturally, I don't see Google having individual privacy or freedom from tracking/slicing and dicing as core values. Eric Schmidt's indiscreet comments last year were more telling.

Sounds a lot like an idea I was considering, until I saw BrainTrust.io had already attacked it and The Fridge (YC S10) had followed up. The problem for someone like Google, as I see it, is "competitive advantage" boils down to "it's like Facebook except you can share stuff just with certain groups". Except, Facebook already has groups.

Facebook groups seems to me like an after thought. On the other hand if Google builds something which has the privacy and groups built right into the core, it will make a different experience. Whatever it is, they certainly have the reach which other start-ups like The Fridge might not have.

Agreed that they seem an after thought, but with the talent they are acquiring and the resources at their disposal, I can't see anyone beating Facebook on a features basis. They might on a privacy basis, but I'm not sure Google has a lot more confidence in that respect than Facebook.

I think you're underestimating the potential in building a new social network with the concept of firewalling groups of contacts at the foundation of the infrastructure.

For example, if friendships in this new system cannot exist in the data schema without being part of a group/circle, this would have profound effects on any ecosystem built on top of it, extending right up to the broader U[I|X] level.

You could compare this to how facebook built their whole success on the concept of activity feeds, which was arguably their killer feature over myspace. Myspace did have similar functionality, but it was tacked on in the way that groups are tacked on to facebook.

Hopefully google can kill facebook by building their offering with privacy groups right at the core, and layering everything else on top of that.

EDIT: I think what I'm trying to say is that privacy has massive potential to be a core feature/selling point in and of itself. It could also potentially form the foundation of a more successful social networking platform/ecosystem full stop.

People will have to choose either to use Facebook or Circle. Well... a lot of ppl won't join the Circle because there aren't all of their friends and they will simply stick to facebook. Is it just my opinion that this is going to be really exciting for the first few days and then simply die off like the amazing product - google wave?

a lot of ppl won't join the Circle because there aren't all of their friends

I'll wager there's a significant overlap between FB and GMail users.

I think people exist in circles, but they don't necessarily talk or share in circles. If Google, or anyone, wants to mimic real social interaction, they need to find a way to enable talking to the right people for that moment and that content. Even the closest circles don't work in daily life. Rarely do I think "I'd like to go skiing with 'best friends' or 'school friends'". I'm much more likely to think of who skis, who hasn't just had a kid, who hasn't just lost her job, who has a job that allows vacation, etc. Maybe I make a circle for just that, but it seems a) difficult and b) overkill. The outreach and sharing only to that circle just isn't the hard part of the communication. Seems like all that solves is "I can't find that email thread about the ski trip in my inbox".

I'd love replies to this line of thought b/c it actually was a bit of a look in the mirror on some stuff I'm working on.

You are on the right track IMHO. What is key is that 'best friends' or 'school friends' are highly contingent and ambiguous constructs. They are not fixed, but rather are dynamic through time–people flow in & out of circles for a multitude of reason–which is very hard to operationalize technically. More engineers & techies should at least be familiar and respect more social theory, not because it represents some 'true' representation of how real social interaction works, but more as food for thought when designing social/technical infrastructure(or as we say in the biz sociotechnical ;). I see echos of Erving Goffman, Harold Garfinkel, Anslem Strauss, and Emilie Durkheim in RWW's description of circles.

Nobody has seen the UI of Google Circles yet, so maybe creating a circle is as easy as drawing a loop around a group of icons, kinda like how Bumptop, another company Google recently purchased, let you group desktop icons with gestures.

I like the name, and the concept 'hook'. Here is to hoping that Google nails the UX and if its really really good. utilize google.com / gmail / android tastefully to get to critical mass.

I am not sure if i want Google to be successful in social though, too much power in a single company...

Yes, I find it interesting that the article focuses on privacy. Google Circles, a product from a company that probably knows more about me than my mom does. I'll be able to hide from my mom, but not from Google's advertising algorithms, and presumably anyone who can subvert/subpoena themselves into the database.

If you had to pick a single company to succeed in social, would you not pick Google?


Google has had a company wide task force of engineers since 2007 called the 'data liberation front.'


I think they have the muscle to take facebook's crown when it comes to the more personal, friends and family side of social networking. I also trust them to take my rights and my privacy seriously. A lot more seriously than facebook does at any rate.

Best case scenario: they nail the UX, and bring in a little of the awesomeness of wave while they're at it.

Good luck to them.

I'm a member of a few private Google Groups, and I hope this works out as a viable replacement. It would be nice to expand private groups beyond just discussion and have the ability to share photos, documents, and other media.

I'm really excited to see what they come up with. I think they have the ecosystem to make a really successful social network. Let's see if they utilize it to its full potential.

Does anyone know what time the even is meant to start?

That is exactly what I needed in my life...another social network! I had a feeling something was missing and now it's obvious that it's the lack of enough online 'social networks'..

Oddly enough, I am still looking for one that will work for me. I bet there are others out there who fill the same.

I do wish that companies did not try and recreate myspace, facebook, etc. I would rather them build the next thing and allow the internet to catch up to the concept.

Internet identity is getting more important. The average user is now just getting a whiff of the value in having a your own web footprint and what that entails.

I want to see a social site with a mullet...business in the front, party in the back.

I hope they retain the open nature of google wave with this project. Even if it fails some people benefit from it still.

for example Novell as far as I am aware use a Google Wave like service still.

Surely 'major' is premature?

Downvotes.. interesting. What I mean is that I'm not sure what is going to make it 'major' within the near future. They tried converting the Gmail userbase once before.

Your comments need to add value, noibl. The clarification helps.

FWIW, word on the ground says that Brin is personally involved with Google's new Social efforts. So 'major' is right - at least internally, Google's throwing the big guns at this one.

Lots of things have had a lot of resources thrown at them only to utterly fail to make an impact on the world. I'm sure that internally, Google keenly appreciates this fact. So although I knew about Brin's commitment to this area I'm still left wondering what the recruitment strategy is going to be, given that it needs to win FB users and not just everybody else. And more troublingly, why RWW is so gung ho about it.

If they can really figure out an easy and intuitive way to solve the problem of sharing statuses to only a set of people then it would be really interesting. Eagerly awaiting! :)

You can already do that on Facebook easily.

Interesting, but we already have Facebook groups, Diaspora, Frid.ge, I even developed my own site to solve this problem last year, Buddify. What exactly is new here other than social group separation? Speaking from experience in this field, I'm certain this won't take off, it's very difficult to gain traction with a new social network in an age where facebook is still growing at a steady pace. Unless I'm missing something here?

Never say never. Admittedly Google's recent track-record with seemingly social products like Buzz and Wave is not terrific, something tells me they would have learnt from them and would be looking to do things differently this time (if at all the rumor is what it is).

Well I could be horribly wrong, of course. I prolifically said back in 2007 that Android would never take off ;). I just think the odds are against Google at the moment unfortunately.

Facebook fatigue is growing at a rapid pace. Just because all my friends are on facebook doesn't mean facebook is a great app - I actually think it's pretty terrible (design, functionality, of course privacy settings, etc), it's just the first app to really implement an activity feed. The barrier to entry in this space may not be as large as it seems.

If Google is going to be launching a social network called "Circles" in the near future, I think they would launch it tomorrow, because tomorrow is Pi Day. (This is meant in all seriousness, Google seems to enjoy small flourishes like that in general, and it would fit with their company culture.)

Circles is a such a nice name for a social network!

I've been waiting to see what a behemoth like Google comes up with when they've put a lot of muscle to a product they've never before approached.

Looking at the presentation by Paul Adams (The Real Life Social Network) I can only hope it's just as exciting!

What Google is to Microsoft in search, Facbook is to Google in Social. But Google has the advantage of trusted brand value(not that MS is not trusted, but with Google it's at diferent scale) so it should get more market share in social than Bing got in search.

Hmm... if they leverage what they have (search), they might give Facebook a run for their money. I'd definitely like my search results filtered by what my friends like. And even more by what they dislike (die, search-engine-optimizing crap farmers, die!)

I wonder what the likelihood of an export feature is.

I'm not a big user of Google services (but more now with Android), but seems like there are some cool possibilities with Google Voice and gmail...provided they get the privacy protection part right.

Facebook allows you to export your pictures and most of your interaction, except for the contacts. It would be interesting if Google has a way to import this into its network.

But the true question is: could Circles be used as a verb?

"Hey, I'll circle you. Don't worry."

Yes you can! So Circles is a possible contender to FB piece of the pie.

In my daydream this is identi.ca compatible. And that again would mean OStatus "protocol" combatible.

What ever it is, competition is always good.

Google has already shown that it does not get social. Google Docs, Youtube, Picasa Web Albums, etc. have huge social potential but Google failed to leverage that.

Attempts with Buzz, Connect and Wave are examples where Google tried too hard but failed.

If they fail this time too, Google should stop spending huge budgets trying to built something internally and invest in new emerging disruptive startups that want to storm the social thing.

Finally death to ailing Orkut.

Does anyone have solid details of when/where the launch will be?

Didn't Eric Schmidt say something like you should not be doing things you want to hide? To follow that thought, what is wrong with Facebook's idea of everybody is a friend and my life is an open book?

Schmidt's quote was taken out context and his view has been grossly misrepresented. In context, he said that when required by local laws, Google has to provide records, so don't give Google any data you don't want the government to be able to get their hands on.

Schmidt is stepping down as a CEO in a month or so.

Google Circles of no life

I think the only thing we need is a kind of Github to create, maintain and follow the information (links, texts, docs, etc) we are interested at. Similar to wikipedia, without formatting boundaries. We need both chaotic and programmable collobration platform to access and eleminate information.

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