The future of the Web is social. What does that mean? Google is trying to figure it out.
The company's previous attempts to corner the social Web, like Google Wave and Buzz, fizzled or failed to sustain much, well, buzz. But the company is making waves online with a new 216-page slide show that tries to explain how we interact online and how we use those interactions to make purchasing and reading decisions. It's a long, fascinating document, notable more for its clarity of thought than for any mind-blowing insights. So please, consider this a takeaway rather than a digest, and read the whole thing yourself if you're interested.
The Paradox of Online Relationships
We have many different kinds of relationships. Close relationships, like family and best friends. Weaker relationships, like work colleagues. And temporary relationships, like people whose reviews we read on Yelp, or readers who comment on what we publish through Tweets and blogs.
But a social networking site like Twitter and Facebook takes one piece of information from one group and shares it across all groups. This gets people into trouble. Work colleagues see Facebook photos we intend for our friends. Google Buzz revealed private emails to everybody who subscribed to your feed.