Trying to Figure Out That Google Social Thingy? Me Too.

Somewhere, deep in the bowels of the Google Bat Cave, I bet there is a very closely-guarded vault that only a few people have access to.    Inside this vault is a document that everyone from Microsoft to FaceBook to yours truly wants to get their hands on.  Some object or map or piece of paper – kind of like a real life Book of Secrets – that many claim is only a myth, but a few people (like myself) believe is a reality.  What is in the mythological document, you ask?

Why, no other than some kind of weird explanation for Google’s scattered and confusing social networking plan – of course.  The master plan for where they are going…. because there has just got to be some kind of rhyme to all the random pieces they seem to just be throwing to the wind every few weeks or so.

Will Google Wave be the final piece that pulls it all together?  I hope so.  But whatever it is, they need to get their social plan fully out there before social networking goes the way of Web 1.0.

I think the reason I want to figure out this master plan so much is because I like what I see so far.  I have iGoogle all set-up with the widgets I like, and now I can share information from some widgets with other friends.  Well, assuming I can ever coax any friends in to trying them with me.  Updates from those social gadgets show up in a FaceBook-like friend stream.  Or, at least… mine do. Until I get that first friend to join me in playing with these… I won’t know what their stuff looks like.

I also have a Google profile that now follows me as I use Google Friend Connect gadgets on different sites.  I can share things in Google Reader.  Then there is that Google Latitude thing that no one wants to touch, because, well… it is kind of creepy.   And probably a few other things I am missing.  Like Gtalk, Google Voice, etc, etc.

Oh… and then there is that social network that Google already has…. called…. ummm… Orkut?  Something like that.  Does that fit in there?

Probably does, but until the master plan is revealed to us someday, we’ll just have to keep waiting patiently for our invite to the next piece.  Which reminds me that I still need to kick myself for waiting so late to get on the list for Google Voice….

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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