Social Layers and Social Intention
I read Mike Arrington's post on Google's social efforts just now. I have not seen any of Google's work. I have not been briefed. I really have no clue what they are building. But this quote got my attention:
Google Me is not a product, it’s a social layer across all products”. But there’s more – “Google Me will produce an activity stream generated by all Google products.
Q. Why did Twitter succeed and FriendFeed fail?
A. Because FriendFeed was largely a social aggregator whereas Twitter is a service with specific social intent.
I think this is an important distinction. I have not seen any breakout social layers. The social services that have broken out to date have been services where a user has a very specific intent.
Social engagements are weird out of context. Comments to this blog make perfect sense on this blog but less sense when they are tweeted out into a Twitter stream or show up in FriendFeed.
There is value in social aggregation but not huge value. Not "this is how we are going to compete with Facebook value". If you want to compete with Facebook, you have to build a service that offers users a specific social intent and the ability to engage directly around that intent.
Curious if you all agree with me.