by Josh Greenfield
Are you on Facebook? What about Twitter? LinkedIn? Ning? Orkut? Hi5? Bebo? Digg? Delicious? Do you still have a MySpace page that you don’t really check? Great! So…where can I find you? The number of social networking sites has exploded almost to the point that if you want a reliable way for people to find you, you need nine different networks to get the job done. Google is now giving everyone the ability to personalize their social.
First up, Google Profiles. It’s happening. Google is officially indexing us all. Sure, that’s a scary proposition for some, but for a lot of us, an “official’ Google Profile is exactly what we’ve been looking for. It’s basically a chance to stake virtual claim on your online identity. A while back, I bought joshuagreenfield.com because if anyone wanted to find me, I wanted to have the #1 result in Google. I also used it as my example when I would tell people that didn’t know much about SEO what I did. Time has passed and I don’t necessarily have the time or interest in maintaining any real content and the site’s a mess. Luckily, I can now rely on my Google profile to give people an “official” listing online.
And have you heard of Google Friend Connect? Google already has Orkut as its social networking contender. It’s one of the most prominent sites in Latin America and has quite an impressive worldwide audience. Friend Connect is Google’s new twist on networking and its bringing a bit of independence to social. Unlike Facebook and Ning, Friend Connect gives you the power to host your own network and content. With a few lines of code that they provide for cutting and pasting, you can give your site some incredible social features in no time. They also have an entire library of “Social Gadgets” from Google, and an open developer network that you can include on your site to give it a pretty incredible set of advanced features.
You’ve all heard of Android, so I won’t get into the details, but give Profiles and Friend Connect the power of mobile, and Google looks a lot more like they’re targeting Facebook and Twitter than they are considering making them an offer.
In a time where most internet conglomerates are stripping down their service offerings and cutting everything that they couldn’t yet seem to monetize, these new products are impressive to say the least. Sure, only time will tell if these will become successful no less dominant, but what is so impressive is how well they illustrate Google’s constant innovation in the marketplace.