Google.com is the Web's Largest Social Network

Jun 22nd

Blogging, email, IM, and telephone make it easy to keep in touch with your real friends. Social networks are hyped, but tend to have low value traffic because they don't effectively separate signal from noise. The only people who have time for them are people hawking crap, people looking to waste time, and spam bots.

Sure Google owns Orkut, but they don't need it. Google already is a social network, and became one by targeting and partnering with the power users and influencers, but few people think of them as a social network. If you are a webmaster there is a good chance that Google delivers your ads, controls your feed, is your analytics provider, and is a leading source of traffic to your site. News sites and other trusted editorial partners are rewarded with high Google rankings, and become addicted to Google's traffic the way LookSmart was addicted to Microsoft's traffic a few years ago.

On top of having touch-points with most webmasters, Google also has touch-points with mass information consumers. Google's Toolbar gives them web history, which knows where you have been and how long you were there. Google Reader is the most popular feed reader service on the web. They know what voices you trust and subscribe to, and allow you to share your subscriptions or favorite items with friends.

Google's personalized homepage is also the most functional, customizable, and useful service by any of the major portals. Google gadgets are easy to create and syndicate, and Google allows you to publish gadgets or tabs with anyone.

They go so far as recommending information via the interesting items for you gadget, a recommendations tab on customized homepages, and toolbar recommendations.

Google Maps allows you to link to any location, adds data layers from trusted third parties, and accepts public comments on maps.

YouTube makes it easy to upload and syndicate videos, and now those are highly ranked in Google's search results. Look at YouTube's TestTube to see the community features they are planning.

Google offers an auto-complete feature, which makes it easy to refine your search based on the searches of others. They also show related sites and hot searches, and let you note sites you like via Google Notebook. If you don't find their results entirely relevant they make it easy to create a custom search engine using their data.

Keep track of time and your projects using Google Calendar and Google Docs.

Sure Google has Orkut, but they don't need it. By default Google keeps hold of your attention so they can use it to improve their relevancy algorithms and ad targeting. Tie in search personalization with automated ad optimization and their information sharing tools and it is easy to think of Google as the web's largest social network, though most people don't think of them that way, largely because they put information at the center of it, and are so good at separating signal from noise.

Published: June 22, 2007

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Comments

AshRo
June 23, 2007 - 9:35am

Is this social networking or business networking? Also, you forgot queriless searching, something similar to StumbleUpon..but that really doesn't separates chaff from wheat. Orkut does. And pretty sure G ould rely much on orkut for user preferences and community.

Just a thought...

francesco mapelli
June 23, 2007 - 4:55pm

... It's not just google... it's the whole net that is becoming a social network.

Nanna
June 30, 2007 - 6:40am

http://www.myspace.com
http://www.zooped.com
http://www.hi5.com
http://www.facebook.com

These social works should be crushed by googles social network but their not why is this?

enc
June 22, 2007 - 10:56am

Well yes, maybe Google is a good guy, but some people thinkg it's not: http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-553961

Jason
June 22, 2007 - 11:24am

Another very good observation and a good point.

I have heard some people say that 'social networks are everything' and if that is the case, then Google is the absolute social network.

It is an incredible tool. I am starting to think about it as a living thing now.

Regards.

Patrick
June 22, 2007 - 12:13pm

What I really find amazing how different companies on different markets with all those Instant messenger and now social network stuff.

I remember 5 years ago, I made friends with a brazilian exchange student at my highschool..when he went back to brazil we kept chatting on icq some times..but very seldom and he told me "Im not on icq very often but im on orkut a lot" and i had never heard of orkut before, yet in brazil it seems to be extremely popular...

In Germany everyone is using ICQ. In France people dont use but MSN. In the US it seems to be MSN and AIM and if you say you're using ICQ people will laugh at you lol. I really find that distribution kind of fascinating

August 30, 2008 - 8:24pm

Aaron,

You say,

"Social networks are hyped, but tend to have low value traffic because they don't effectively separate signal from noise. The only people who have time for them are people hawking crap, people looking to waste time, and spam bots."

What about people that use social networks to build business relationships ... did you forget that one?

Did you forget the fact that your blog is a social network?

Are you saying that your commenters are "wasting time" and "hawking crap" ?

You might want to edit that statement.

August 30, 2008 - 10:52pm

I was speaking mostly of the spam filled general purpose social networks. Not quality niche sites that communities form around. Many people pay me because they learn from this site helps them learn. Actively diving deeply into your personal and/or business interests is different than spending all day on Digg or Facebook.

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